Pirates of the Caribbean is a solid franchise. Not great, but certainly not as bad as most critics would say. These films feature unforgettable score, excellent locations and special effects and an iconic character in Jack Sparrow. They are fun to watch and although constantly overlong and flawed, most remain solid and charming. Here is my ranking all five of its entries.
5. On Stranger Tides
This is by far the worst Pirates entry so far. It is the only movie that is just okay and far from solid. Jack is great per usual and some scenes are memorable as are the locations. However, the action is underwhelming this time around and it was weird seeing so little of the fantasy elements in this installment. Penelope Cruz also ruined this film with her bad acting. So it isn’t terrible, but it most definitely is the weakest point of the series.
4. Dead Men Tell No Tales
This newest entry is weaker than the original trilogy, but a most definite improvement over the above installment. It is very jumbled in plot points and execution, Jack is unfortunately very underutilized here and some scenes did not feel earned emotionally, but the ending was awesome, the storyline is mostly quite solid and I liked the new additions to the team as well as seeing Elizabeth and Will again.
3. At World’s End
At World’s End is the weaker entry in the original trilogy as it is so damn long. It just felt liked it would never end. The entire storyline is needlessly complicated and hard to follow plus it has way too many characters in it. But the entire third act was worth the journey. It was incredibly emotional and I loved it. It definitely is a very prolonged ending, but very rewarding nevertheless.
2. The Curse of the Black Pearl
To many people the original is the best, but not to me. It is the most serious Pirates film for better and for worse. It has the best story out of all of them, Jack is hilarious here and the action as well as locations are highly memorable and well utilized. But the film was just too serious for me and although sometimes very funny, the movie needed much more humor and shenanigans.
1. Dead Man’s Chest
Dead Man’s Chest is my personal favorite Pirates of the Caribbean flick. It is per usual excessive in runtime and action, but it is the funniest entry in the series for sure with Jack and the rest being so amusing. The fantasy elements are very intriguing, the film sets up the sequel quite well and of course Davy Jones is such a memorable villain with a good backstory. It also features seamless special effects and many memorable scenes. It is the best and most entertaining film here and thus it gets the first spot.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth entry in this franchise starring Johnny Depp and this time directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. It’s quite solid.
“I saw her ankles. You would’ve seen a lot more
if you kept your cakehole shut“
This entry is a certain improvement over the previous film which was easily the worst in the entire series. This one is weaker than the original trilogy, but at least a step in the right direction. Although I have to say that I wasn’t thrilled with that post-credits sequence at all. I do not like when they bring back old or dead characters as the sixth entry will supposedly be about Elizabeth, Will and Davy Jones. Not a fan for now.
Here the storyline is actually quite solid though the film is definitely very jumbled in its execution and it tries to have too many plot points in it and thus most are left underutilized. I liked that finally we get a two-hour Pirates film but it still felt overdrawn thanks to its weak pacing and too much action sequences.
I dislike Javier Bardem and I have just never cared for him. Here is the same. He did a good job and Salazar is a solid villain, but I would have liked to have seen somebody else personally. Henry Turner and Carina Smith are actually quite solid new additions to the team. Certainly they felt like imitations at times of Elizabeth and Will, but I liked their relationship quite a bit. She is an overly aggressive feminist character and he is typical, but they are miles better than Penelope Cruz’s character in the previous film.
I was sad to see Captain Barbossa die. That was a powerful sequence, but still not necessary. I liked that she turned out to be his daughter, but the two did not seem like father and daughter to me personally and their relationship was underdeveloped and thus his death did feel unnecessary.
Gibbs is solid and it was nice seeing Elizabeth and Will again. That ending was perfect in my opinion. Not only the romantic reunions but Jack bickering about it was so funny. Speaking of Jack, he is the weakest link here. He felt overly drunk and not in control this time around and actually he wasn’t all that much in the movie. He should be the center of each Pirates film and thus I was incredibly disappointed that this time around that wasn’t the case.
Dead Men Tell No Tales is very well made with again excellent scenery and special effects. The score is also pretty strong per usual. The direction is solid, but you’d expect the directors of high-spirited adventure ‘Kon-Tiki’ to do a much better job than what they did in the end. So the film is perfectly solid, but very flawed across the board. The action is well executed but the humor should have been better.
Dead Men Tell No Tales suffers from not having enough Jack in it, the pacing is all over the place and the story is fine, but underutilized in too many plot points. The action is solid, but again overwhelming. The new characters are actually quite fine and the ending was the highlight of the film. It is eventually a pretty solid film that is weaker than the original trilogy, but a certain improvement over the last worst entry.
Porky’s Phoney Express is a 1938 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is quite solid.
This entry is worth remembering for finally giving Porky a good, great even ending as most entries by now had him suffer in the end. That was awesome and the poor guy deserved it. I loved how he eventually became the boss and bossed everyone around and that entire final scene is fantastic.
But the rest of the cartoon wasn’t that great. It had too many cooks in the kitchen from the boss to the delivery to the Indians. All were underutilized except for the boss who really was memorable with his constant yelling at Porky Pig. The entire film is very rushed in pacing and execution and not particularly memorable in animation or score.
Porky’s Phoney Express is technically weak and very rushed, but with a great finale where Porky finally got a happy ending.
The Revival period for Disney thankfully revived not just the studio in terms of quality, but it also revived their traditional musical format and to stellar results. Half of these movies are not musicals at all which means that this list is not going to be as strong as the characters list, but still they brought musicals back after a hiatus in the 2000s (those movies had songs but weren’t musicals) and there are enough good songs here to fill up a top ten list so here we go.
10. Friends on the Other Side
It start off pretty slow and basically consists of slow singing/talking for a while there, but ends on such a strong, effective and highly catchy note that it truly is one of the better Disney villain songs out there. I loved the descriptive lyrics and the imagery which accompanies the entire affair. It works great as a plot point and as a song too.
9. Dig a Little Deeper
The Princess and the Frog gets another song on the list because it has a damn strong, highly underrated soundtrack. I’d take as much of Mama Odie as I can possibly get and this is basically her only sequence and she is great in it. Again the lyrics serve the plot and character development superbly and it is just such a catchy number accompanied by colorful animation.
8. For the First Time in Forever Reprise
This is one of those scenes where the characters sing the words and an almost entire conversation is sung. I know that most do not like that, but I do and this is one of the better examples of such an approach. The singing from both is great, the words are mostly terrific and the entire sequence is not only powerfully sung, but highly intense and emotional as well.
7. I’ve Got a Dream
I really adore this catchy number. The lyrics here are actually funny. Not just funny, but some lines are even hilarious! The thugs are awesome, Flynn got a great, funny moment and Rapunzel is wonderful here. The entire sequence in this tavern is childlike and sweet with the song being innocent in a good way and immensely entertaining.
6. For the First Time in Forever
Frozenhas a pretty overrated soundtrack with only a couple of good songs and this is one of them. The reprise is great, but here we got a full, longer version and it is probably the sequence which best describes Anna’s character in such a short time. She is infectiously amusing and likable here and the song is catchy but also quite grand in its last moments where both sisters sing together.
5. How Far I’ll Go
It actually isn’t the best Moanasong, but How Far I’ll Go remains a pretty great “I want” song in its own right. This is the defining scene for the movie and especially for Moana’s character and it is beautifully built up through excellent imagery and action on screen. The lyrics are fine, but it is the singing that is the highlight along with its fantastic last chorus which was perfectly accompanied by animation and action on screen. A classicaly done, wonderful song.
4. Almost There
Almost There, on the other hand, is not classic Disney at all. It isn’t a ballad and it isn’t pop. It is a jazz number and while I usually tend to not care for this genre, here I loved it. We get to see the entire suffering and hard work Tiana puts and what he dreams of – opening a restaurant. I loved that artistic animation employed here, really well done. The number is infectiously catchy, beautifully sung and with particularly strong, descriptive lyrics. It is a fun, different kind of Disney song that benefits from being faithful to the time period and setting of the film.
3. We Know the Way
I know that Moana came out so recently, but I have to put this song so high on my list as it is absolutely magnificent. It is the highlight of the film and although the transition from scene to song was not smooth at all, the sequence itself is terrific. It showcases the culture of its people so well and it actually uses the Tokelauan language in its lyrics. In tone and in language, it fits to its setting much more so than ‘Frozen’ ever did. But it is above all else incredibly, hugely catchy and I know it by heart and I have listened to it a hundred times by now. It is by far the catchiest, most entertaining song out of these ten.
2. I See the Light
I See the Light is a contemporary, but wonderful love ballad. I loved how it was a return to those classic duo songs from the Renaissance and it reminded me wonderfully of Kiss the Girl from ‘The Little Mermaid’ as it is similar in imagery. Finally here their love has blossomed, both Rapunzel’s and Flynn’s singing is excellent, the words are very good and fit the story and their characters well and seeing those lanterns lift in the sky provides a beautiful, exceedingly romantic experience. It is such a wonderful moment from Tangledwhen the entire film just starts and your breath is taken.
1. Let It Go
This is a cliched choice, I know. But sometimes what majority thinks is actually right. Some may hate on this song because it has certainly been overplayed by now, but nobody can deny its power and its sheer spectacle. The entire scene is breathtaking and one of the best in Disney history, but the song is the standout aspect there as it gives Elsa excellent development and a moment to shine alone. It is a transcendent scene and a kind of majestic Broadway song which is beautifully sung by Idina Menzel. But the reason why it is so great lies in its lyrics which are absolutely amazing, clever, descriptive, almost artistic and just perfect in every way. Probably the most poetic and sophisticated of all Disney songs, Let It Go certainly is one of the best of all time and undoubtedly the best of the 21st century.
Try Everything – This is the only song from Zootopiawhich closes off the film in such a fun fashion. It is very catchy and fittingly worded for the film.
Gonna Take You There – This is another strong song from this underrated soundtrack that is too short, but incredibly entertaining and catchy.
Everything Is Honey – This Winnie the Pooh outing is not all that memorable, but it is accompanied by a great scene and features a pretty good, stellar final chorus.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman – This Frozen number is overly childlike and short, but it works in the context of the story and is very sweet and heartbreaking.
Shiny – This is far from Moana’s best songs and I do not like that it is rap basically. However, it is very amusing, funny, catchy and a pretty memorable scene overall.
Probably the biggest reason why this current Disney Revival period is so great and a fantastic return to form lies in the character development which is actually terrific in almost every of its eight films so far. With that in mind, I am going to choose ten best characters from this period and this is going to be a highly personal list that will coincide pretty closely with my best movies list as usually when I love a film I love it because of the characters.
Big Hero 6 surely is the weakest Revival film, but I cannot deny how wonderful this character is. Baymax is sweet and also quite funny at times. The relationship between him and Hiro is the heart and soul of the movie. He definitely has a very interesting design to him and is essential for the movie so he takes this tenth spot deservedly.
9. Prince Naveen
There are a lot of truly wonderful characters from The Princess and the Frog with whom I could easily populate half of this list with, but the central duo has to be the highlight. Naveen is a different kind of Disney Prince as he is lazy, rich and spoiled at first and has to learn how to better himself. His interactions with Tiana were great as the two are so different from one another.
I know that the eighth place for Elsa might seem too low for many but she is just not that much in the movie and remains a mystery purposefully. Everything she stands for is important and great, her relationship with Anna is moving and she is such a memorable, kickass magical queen. It’s just that Anna is the main and more important character for the film.
7. Flynn Ryder
Flynn Ryder (or Eugene as is his real name) is another excellent Disney Prince. He is the type of modern, overly confident, fun and selfish dude who influenced Maui from ‘Moana’ who is a pale imitation of him. Flynn is a lot of fun and quite funny at times and I loved Rapunzel’s relationship with him and how nuanced it felt.
Anna is crazy. Not as much as Kristoff, but still pretty crazy and foolish. But that is why she is great as she makes mistakes and realizes them and we follow how much she changes and grows up throughout this story. Spunky and energetic, funny yet sweet, she gives Disney princesses a fun, contemporary make-over.
I love Tiana and she is an enormously underrated Disney Princess. The mix of contemporary and traditional is phenomenal here which is why I like her more than most subsequent princesses. She is the only princess who is a worker which is very important, but she also learns to have fun in the end and changes her wardrobe the most out of any other princesses. Determined, yet sweet while being very complex, she is what every little girl should strive to be.
And my favorite modern Disney Princess is Rapunzel. She is spunky, fun and definitely capable of defending herself, but at the heart is a traditional princess – warm, caring and immensely kind and charming. Not to mention that she is the most beautiful and cutest princess after Ariel. I cared for her and I rooted for her which is a testament to her great personality and portrayal.
3. Mother Gothel
Yes, the best character from Tangledis actually Mother Gothel. Wow, is she awesome. She used Rapunzel for years, she managed to trick her and Flynn later on and she never made a single mistake. Scary, creepy, but non-magical and a real person which makes her all the more menacing – she truly is one of the best villains that the studio has ever had.
2. Vanellope von Schweetz
This crazy kid is terrific. She is also a Disney Princess surprisingly enough, but much more than that. Feisty and brave, yet also vulnerable and sweet, she is a realistic, tough and admirable kid who got one heck of a backstory here. I rooted for her constantly and wanted her to succeed so badly. That is how much she had an impact on me. And her relationship with Ralph is simply wonderful.
Speaking of the devil, Ralph is definitely the best character on this list. He had a tough job beating up so many great characters here, but he did it as he is the most nuanced, most complex of the bunch and such a perfect Disney hero who should prove influential to others in the future. He is never too good or boring and bland and is thus rather realistic and again with an excellent backstory, goal and interactions with every other character in the film. He, along with Vanellope, carries most of this awesome film on his shoulders and in no small part thanks to such a wonderful performance form John C. Reily who assured him the first place on my list.
Charlotte – She easily could have been just a dumb wealthy Southern debutante, but she has a giant heart and was a wonderful friend to Tiana. Loved her.
Judy Hopps – Although overly aggressive at times, Judy is a memorable protagonist who made mistakes and apologized for them which made her all the more human. Ironic for a bunny.
Nick Wilde – Nick is also very well developed and quite complex of a character who has a fantastic, nuanced relationship with Judy which is the best thing about Zootopia.
Moana – Although not all that memorable and at times not likable, Moana is still a solid, competent heroine who got a particularly entertaining and perilous adventure.
Mama Odie – This is a somewhat different, crazier version of the Fairy Godmother character and it worked entirely as Mama Odie is funny and silly, but wonderful all the time.
Disney Revival is the most recent period in the history of Disney Animation which consists of films released from 2009 up to today. It is basically a second Disney Renaissance after their dark period during the 2000s. Finally the studio went back to its roots and paid more attention to characterization and emotion while also going back to animal pictures and especially the princess movies. Although not as great as the Renaissance period of the nineties, this is still one of the better periods for the company. Some movies here are overly modern, but some will also prove to be timeless. This is also the only period which I basically followed almost from its beginning and most movies I have watched in theaters as well. So without further ado, this is my (very personal) ranking of all eight Disney Revival films released so far.
8. Big Hero 6
As is the case with all great periods, this one also does not have a single bad or even weaker film. Case in point – Big Hero 6 which is perfectly solid, but is dead last on this list because it is so much weaker than the rest of the entries as it is so flawed. I loved Hiro and Baymax, the action is actually superb as is the animation and the emotional investment, but the supporting characters are ridiculously underutilized, the story has its many typical plot points and the pacing is awfully rushed owing to its very unfortunate shorter runtime. It’s a perfectly solid and quite moving film, but another proof that Disney just do not know how to make great anime films as this is their third decidedly flawed attempt at that.
7. Winnie the Pooh
2011’s Winnie the Pooh is without a doubt the most atypical movie from this period as it is the only sequel so far (that will change soon) and it is the only flick geared toward children and one of just two films that are hand-drawn. I absolutely adored its simplistic animation and the humor is so sweet. This is a movie that is very simple for better and for worse meaning that it is too short and definitely lacking in real conflict and story, but also thus exceedingly charming and wonderfully childlike. It is a very old-fashioned film that is respectful to its characters and legacy without ever doing anything too modern with it. Overall, it is best suited for children, but those with a childlike wonder and mind might also appreciate its inherent heart and charm.
This is going to be the most controversial placement but here we go. First of all, I like Frozenquite a bit and there was a time when I loved it actually. The characters are excellent with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff all being very memorable and so well developed. Let It Go is an undisputed classic and that entire scene is one of the finest in Disney’s history. It has a good twist (though unfortunately it proved to be too influential on subsequent movies) and it is great for women and especially those who have sisters. However, the soundtrack is for the most part very lackluster, the animation is not as detailed, the pacing and structure of the film are all over the place and the film is so uneven in almost every regard that it truly is unfortunate how amazing it often is, but how problematic it is at other times. It isn’t a bad movie as most say; it isn’t a great movie as most would say too. It is just a very flawed, but good film and that’s it.
Zootopiais probably the most critically acclaimed film out of all these. And while I personally do not agree with that sentiment as I found its politically correct overtones and approach just too on-the-nose and preachy, there is no denying its absolutely breathtaking, meticulous world building, sheer originality and excellent character development with two great main characters. The animation is one of the best when it comes to CGI and the film is quite emotional, adventurous and also very effective in the mystery department. It is one of the most authentic and sophisticated Disney outings, but also one of the most timely and I do think that it is not going to stand the test of time all that well because of its politics.
Now Moanais the better of the two Disney films released in 2016, at least in my opinion. It isn’t great, but it is a return to those high adventure movies of yesteryear with such a fun, spirited adventure and again phenomenal characterization. Moana is a very well realized protagonist and the rest of the characters are also pretty good. The animation is of course beautiful, but the highlight is the soundtrack with future classics such as We Know the Way and How Far I’ll Go. It has no villains or love interest and thus relies on dialogue which should have been better plus some of the meta humor was awfully annoying, but it’s still a very pleasant adventure which I ended up liking quite a bit.
3. The Princess and the Frog
This is probably the second most controversial choice as, I don’t know why personally, but The Princess and the Frog is pretty much disliked and by some even hated Disney movie. To me it certainly has its flaws as the villain is particularly ineffective, but I absolutely loved most of its characters ranging from excellent Tiana to superbly developed Prince Naveen to hilarious, sweet Charlotte to wonderful Mama Odie etc. The hand-drawn animation is beautiful and the soundtrack is actually one of Disney’s best of all time with hits such as Almost There, Friends on the Other Side and Dig a Little Deeper. It is the film that mixes traditional with contemporary the best out of all the movies here and thus it gets its deserved third spot.
2. Wreck-It Ralph
It was a pretty close race for the first place, but eventually I decided to put Wreck-It Ralph in the second spot. Still that is not to say that it isn’t great as it is an absolutely terrific feat of filmmaking and one of the best Disney films of all time, certainly in the top 15 or so. You need heart, characters and story to be a non-musical Disney classic. You’ve got it all here. The film is extremely moving and sometimes it almost made me cry, the character development is magnificent with Ralph and Vanellope being outstanding and I adored both of them plus the story is a one of a kind take on video games with unprecedented originality to its approach and extraordinary world-building. It is a modern, different kind of animal, but a future classic for the studio all the same.
And the number one has to go to Tangled! This is without a doubt one of the best Disney films of all time and certainly the best in the Revival era. I’ve seen it three times by now and I love it more every next time I see it. As in the case above, this again has everything. Rapunzel is a wonderful Disney Princess and Flynn Ryder is a competent Disney Prince. The animal sidekicks are fun and memorable and Mother Gothel is one of the most menacing and brightest Disney villains ever. The animation is beautiful and the score and songs are so good with I See the Light being a wonderful ballad and I’ve Got a Dream being such a cute, charming tavern song. It has an excellent, traditional story and many unforgettable, moving scenes such as the romantic lantern scene and the parent reunion scene. Tangled truly is a modern Disney classic and thus a winner in my book.
Big Hero 6 is a 2014 animated superhero film which is the 54th Disney animated feature film. It is one of the weaker Disney entries. Solid, but highly flawed.
“There are no red lights during car chases!“
The story of a young robotics prodigy who forms a superhero team to fight a masked villain is pretty typical and not all that interesting. This is a basic superhero origin story which felt very rushed and abrupt in its execution. The film flies by quickly and its pacing is absolutely horrible and from it stem all of its biggest problems.
It is frenetic and hectic with too much action and not enough substance. Well, there is a big heart at its core, but all of those great emotional scenes were rushed in favor of the all that prolonged action. The assembling of the team was so incredibly rushed, the entire death of a brother felt unnecessary and your typical emotional manipulation from Disney and the twist at the end was another one of those by now typical Disney villain twists previously done much better in ‘Frozen’ and ‘Wreck-It Ralph’.
It may seem that I am trashing and hating on Big Hero 6 but I am not. The story is not bad, it is perfectly serviceable. It is the execution that is far from great. As for its characters, the main ones are great and the supporting ones are quite mediocre so let’s first talk about the good ones.
Hiro Hamada is excellent. What I liked about him the most is how he wanted to kill the villain for killing his brother. He had a moment of darkness in him which was excellent and realistic. He is a typical teenage modern geek, but at least he is very well portrayed, complex and quite likable.
Tadashi was so likable and even though I really disliked his death and how it was handled, at least he is a very strong brother character and the two share an awesome relationship. We got a strong brotherly bond for once without any petty arguments and fights which was fantastic.
Baymax is easily the heart and soul of the film and, needless to say, the standout character and overall aspect of the entire movie. His big marshmallow design is actually very original for a robot and I also really liked his fighting costume. He helped Hiro deal with all of his problems so wonderfully and all of their scenes were wonderful to behold. He is one of the best movie robots recently and maybe even of all time.
But now we come to the supporting players and they are all very weak. Again that stems from rushed and frenetic pacing as they had no time to be properly developed. They were fun as a team, but individually each one of them was underutilized.
Fred is the best of the bunch, but still a typical geek and hippie. GoGo is an awfully annoying, overly strong feminist character and Honey Lemon is likable, but too girly in my opinion. As for Wasabi, he is easily the most underdeveloped character in the movie and basically a token black character for the team. Krei was forgettable and Professor Callaghan’s reason for becoming a villain was fine, but he also was underutilized severely. He looked cool and had some great action scenes, but the twist reveal was disappointing. Aunt Cass, on the other hand, is very likable and endearing and I loved the portrayal of aunts as great, lovely parents.
Big Hero 6 is very well animated. The animation here is frequently exceptional and quite gorgeous. I loved the imagery and the flight sequences were the most beautiful for sure. The film is very modern as it revolves entirely in a giant city and the animation delivers as the city looks great with an excellent attention to detail and a great use of a darker color palette. The character design is also pretty strong and good across the board.
Now this film is Disney’s third attempt at basically making an anime film. I would say that it is obviously an improvement over ‘Atlantis’ and quite on par with ‘Treasure Planet’. But still they dropped a giant ball once again and did not deliver on the promise of a great superhero anime film.
San Fransokyo looks cool and I loved the mix of American and Asian in character design and aesthetics of the entire city. The mix was fine and definitely somewhat different for the studio, but still the characterization and the humor are never as strong as in anime counterparts.
I found the dialogue to be solid, but the humor is not all that great and was rather repetitive at times. The direction is weak and the film’s runtime is awfully short and this story needed two hours and not just an hour and a half. That is why the entire thing is so damn rushed in execution. The action sequences are actually very well executed, entertaining and quite clever at times and that is why it did not bother me too much that the movie was heavy in terms of action. The voice acting is excellent and the film is mostly well made with obvious care, but it still ended up being one of Disney’s weaker films.
Big Hero 6 has frequently gorgeous animation, very good voice acting, strong character design and imagery and actually stupendously executed action sequences. It also has a big heart at its core with a couple of highly emotional sequences. Hiro Hamada is a very strong protagonist and Baymax steals the show as the highlight of the film. However, all of the other supporting characters are almost entirely underutilized and underdeveloped, the film’s overall story with the tragedy, the twist and the origin story is very unoriginal and the film is just terribly rushed and abrupt in its execution. All of those problems stem from overly short runtime and thus this is by far the worst Disney Revival film.
The Sneezing Weasel is a 1938 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is such a derivative entry.
This was a perfectly competent short film, but the fact that it is so damn derivative hurt it tremendously. The animation is definitely very good with the character designs all being stellar. The action is solid and the film is quite a lot of fun to watch. As I said, perfectly solid and well made overall.
But the story and the action on screen are nothing short of unoriginal. This is basically their rendition of ‘Three Little Pigs’ as the weasel tries to break into the chickens’ house with the disguise as well. That story is always a lot of fun to watch, but in terms of originality, it is the worst offender yet from the series.
The Sneezing Weasel is very well made across the board and with good voice acting, but the story and action on screen are entirely unoriginal.
Cars 3 is a 2017 animated film which is the third installment in the Cars franchise and the overall 18th Pixar film. It is a solid and at times admirable, but flawed sequel.
“Don’t fear failure.
Be afraid of not having the chance,
you have the chance!“
The story is actually very strong this time around and that is one of its biggest strengths and the reason why it is so much better than the previous film which remains Pixar’s absolute worst entry. It is still quite weaker in comparison to the first, very underrated film, but it least it is a step in a good direction.
Lightning cannot adapt to new technology and newer, advanced racers and he starts losing his matches. He doesn’t want to quit racing yet, but eventually he doesn’t have a choice and he thus becomes a trainer and his student takes over the race herself with him in training charge. And of course they win.
Now even though Cruz is just a basic Mary Sue and there is no way she could have won her match that easily, this was still a terrific ending that made the whole somewhat weaker journey to get there quite worthwhile. I loved the film’s message. In the real world, sports players get old and cannot continue playing but most continue their legacy through training or managing. That is exactly what happened here and it was very realistic and just perfect for this character.
So I loved how they took a different, more serious instead of sugarcoated approach and it worked fully in the film’s favor. I also really liked the film’s beginning as it was again a very realistic story of dealing with new technologies and new obstacles and how you should constantly strive to reinvent yourself in order to stay in the game. Again a great message and I admired the use of branding and merchandise in this movie which were again so well touched upon.
But, and this is a big but, the second act was just such a bore to sit through. The other two are so good that the movie would have been very strong if the second one delivered but it did not unfortunately. It was a typical journey with not a single memorable sequence and it utilized on the more forgettable characters there. It was very slight and forgettable and it ruined the film for me.
Cars 3 makes the fatal mistake of introducing too many new characters and relying too much on them instead of having bigger roles for the older crew. I thought that was a very poor, unfortunate choice for the third installment. Cruz Ramirez is your typical Mary Sue as she became a major racer just like that – basically for a very short time she went from being weak to being awesome. That was some very lazy storytelling and characterization. And I just did not care for her whatsoever as she could be quite annoying.
Jackson Storm is also not great as he is your typical bad guy and new competent racer and he is actually quite underutilized in the movie. Sterling is fine and he has his moments, but the rest are just so forgettable. Lightning McQueen is great and his journey in this franchise is actually superbly told and excellent. Here he gets to grow quite a bit and he has to learn how to continue staying relevant in the business. Excellent characterization for him, but the others from the old crew are basically missing here as Sally gets only a couple of scenes as does Mater. The former is boring and the latter is annoying.
The animation is strong here, but far from the studio’s best works. The models are very well animated and detailed in execution, some of the scenery was quite wonderful and the film looks polished and modern. But there is nothing truly remarkable in terms of animation here and the film is just very competent without ever being breathtaking and not to mention artistic.
Cars 3 is very weakly directed by a weak director and the pacing is just so mediocre. The film features some very strong dialogue, but the humor is very weak and unfortunately rarely hitting the mark. The action is okay but for a movie about racing, it should have been stronger. The adventure elements were lacking and only as a drama the film succeeds quite a bit. In the end, it is one of Pixar’s weaker films, but still a solid movie that has a lot to offer from time to time.
Cars 3 is undone by its very dull, slight second act and a very unfortunate reliance on new characters instead of the old crew. Most new additions are not that good and Cruz Ramirez is the worst offender being basically a giant Mary Sue. However, the film is actually very clever in its first and third act as it explores branding, merchandising and constant reinventing to stay relevant in the changing industry. The ending is (discounting Cruz being too great of a racer) absolutely terrific as it shows Lightning having to give up racing and start training and continue his legacy that way. I loved that message as it is very much grounded in reality and the film thus avoided sugarcoating. It’s a shame that the rest of the film wasn’t as great.
Anna & Bella is a 1984Dutch Oscar winning animated short film that is quite pleasant.
The film follows two older sisters who are now angels in heaven and they look at their old photos and reminisce about their young lives. This is a very good, surprisingly unique concept that is also executed quite well, if not great. The animation is very good with excellent character design though admittedly the movements are a bit too floaty for me.
The sisters should have been better developed, but they are still nice and charming and I loved their sweet, strong relationship. I also really liked the choice to not have dialogue in the movie as it fitted the visuals more. The main problem is the car crash sequence which features overly weird imagery which I did not love. But the rest was very good with the beginning and ending being particularly strong. The score is also terrific.
Anna & Bella is a worthy Oscar winner with strong animation, a great concept and some wonderful sequences.