Wonder (2017)

Wonder Movie Review

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Wonder Movie Review

Wonder is a 2017 drama film directed by Stephen Chbosky and starring Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts. It is a very good, but overly sentimental film.

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Auggie can’t change how he looks.

Maybe we should change how we see

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Wonder Movie Review

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It follows a child who has Treacher Collins Syndrome and is trying to fit in school. In my opinion, this film is at first great and then it becomes very standard. The first half is fantastic and the second one is so typical. So let’s first talk about the first half.

I absolutely loved the first half of this film and for many reasons. One is that it was subtle and not too sentimental while always being very realistic and filled with a great attention to detail in its character interactions and their problems. But I particularly loved the choice to give us different points of view and the film goes from Auggie to his sister and best friend’s point of view as well. I loved that as it made the film very unique and different.

However, the second half ruined all that owing to its sudden shift into predictable, typical melodrama and sentimental drivel even. The death of a dog was too melodramatic and it did not need to happen as we already had a lot of drama in the family. But the biggest problem is that ridiculous ending which is overly inspirational, so clichéd and the entire film suffered from it which is unfortunate.

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Wonder Movie Review

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Some people with the same condition criticized it for being inspiration porn and I entirely agree with that. Basically the kid is being rewarded for just being himself and being different when he didn’t do anything worthy of an award. If they gave the award to his two friends, it would have been a different story, but in this manner the film became unfortunately clichéd and annoying.

Auggie is likable and well developed with Jacob Tremblay once again giving an excellent performance. Of course his performance in ‘Room’ is so much better, but here he is very good too and further proof that he is a major talent to be watched. I liked seeing Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson for a change as I haven’t seen them in a long time and they are great parents with Roberts in particular giving a strong performance.

The bullying angle is well explored although somewhat mild. Via is very well realized and I appreciated the film for giving us an insight into her problems. She is a neglected child for obvious reasons as they shifted almost their whole focus to Auggie and she suffered because of that. Very interesting and truthful. I also really liked her friend’s story. And Jack Will is such a wonderful soul and a great friend. The Minecraft scene is so fantastic, moving and utilizing on modern technology superbly that it’s one of 2017’s finest movie scenes.

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Wonder Movie Review

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Wonder is well directed, well paced and well structured. As I said, I loved its approach with different points of view and character spotlights. The acting is strong, the film is well shot and of course the make-up is terrific and deservedly Oscar-nominated. In the end, I liked Wonder quite a bit, but I do wish that it was subtler in execution and more sophisticated. It was too commercialized as evidenced by its incredibly large box office results.

Wonder features an outstanding first half and an unfortunate second one. The first half is so well acted, directed and structured with an original approach with more points of view and character spotlights. It features subtle filmmaking and heartwarming moments. However, the second half is the opposite – it becomes very unsubtle, too melodramatic and overly inspirational and sentimental in its ending. It’s a good film, but it could have been much better had it been less commercialized.

My Rating – 4

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Zathura (2005)

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Zathura Movie Review

Zathura is a 2005 family sci-fi fantasy film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo. It is a pretty good, endearing flick.

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You guys actually set the house on fire?

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Zathura Movie Review

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Two brothers do not get along and once they set off on a space adventure through a board game, they must win it in order to get back home and in the process they become closer together and learn some brotherhood lessons. So this is a message film for sure, but it isn’t too preachy and it gets the message across while still making it a fun experience. That is why the film is most definitely a wonderful, highly recommended adventure for kids.

But it is also pretty good for adults, at least it was to this adult. I liked the mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements and the film is mostly wonderfully childlike, much more so than purely childish which I liked. The sense of wonder and adventure is quite evident here. The plot isn’t original for sure, but the setting is and it left a lot of room for imaginative and entertaining storytelling.

Josh Hutcherson is very good in the main role. Jonah Bobo is not as good, but is okay. Josh was definitely a child star back in the mid 2000s as evidenced also by his turn in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’. It is great that he managed to stay in the business as an adult as well, but as a kid he was more than competent enough to carry an entire film which is exactly what he did here.

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Zathura Movie Review

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Certainly Kristen Stewart’s character got better near the end, but at first she was an overly stereotypical teen girl who really annoyed me. But Stewart is definitely good in this role. I liked Tim Robbins as their dad quite a bit, but Dax Shepard is also solid in his role, though not as memorable as he should have been.

Zathura is best when it centers on the relationship between two brothers. It portrays a very realistic brotherly relationship and bond with a lot of bickering, but evident care too. I really enjoyed it and it should prove terrific for anyone who has a brother. Very relatable.

I did not like the Zorgons at all. Their design was just unappealing to me and not creepy enough. Lisa should have had a bigger role in my opinion and the astronaut should have had a smaller one. I liked the twist quite a bit and it made sense and was really well hinted previously. But the overall third act was just not as entertaining as the film was previously as it was so much fun.

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Zathura Movie Review

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Zathura features a stylized, somewhat less realistic depiction of space which suits its kids’ format quite a bit. I liked the effects for the most part and the imagery was memorable. The interiors of the house are also quite well realized. The acting is good and the direction from Jon Favreau is quite good and he has always had a good eye for fine, old-fashioned family fun which this movie certainly is. It isn’t original or particularly inspired, but it does what it set out to do really well and I ended up enjoying it a lot.

Zathura manages to elevate its unoriginal premise and a couple of uninspired, overly action oriented scenes with a very good performance from Josh Hutcherson and a great brotherly relationship at its core which is sweet but also quite realistic. It is a good message film but also a lot of fun to watch thanks to evident sense of childlike wonder and a couple of very interesting plot points.

My Rating – 4

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Dumbo (1941)

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Dumbo Movie Review

Dumbo is a 1941 animated fantasy film which is Disney’s fourth animated feature. It is one of the better and most charming Disney outings.

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What’s the matter with his ears?

I don’t see nothin’ wrong with ’em. I think they’re cute

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Dumbo Movie Review

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The story is obviously a tale of discrimination against those who are different. It examines that theme really well and is obviously highly emotional in some scenes. I liked the film in terms of storytelling as it is very short and thus very effective and getting to point and never dragging.

I do realize that nowadays the circus setting is not as pleasant, but it was timely for the forties and I thought it was very well explored. The film showcases how the animal circuses worked and I really liked that. It has its fantasy elements and it also is a musical as it has quite a lot of musical numbers for its short runtime, but it is above all else a nice family drama that is very emotionally resonant and consistently sweet and endearing without ever being cloying.

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Dumbo Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the characters. The character development here is very strong as is expected from Disney’s Golden Age. Each character is well emphasized and properly developed and in that way the film is basically a rich character drama. The voice acting is also top-notch across the board.

Dumbo continues the tradition of Disney’s silent protagonists and of course I adored the little fellow. The choice to not have him speak paid off significantly as he is all the more endearing that way. It is impossible not to fall in love with this little elephant.

His mother is so sweet and all the scenes between the two are instantly heartwarming and pulling on the heartstrings. The human characters appear scarcely and rarely are fully seen on screen, but that worked as they are still well utilized but never taking the focus off of our animal stars.

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Dumbo Movie Review

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Mr. Stork is quite likable and I liked the anthropomorphized Casey Junior quite a bit. Those elephant “ladies” are a bit too on-the-nose, but they are still excellent and serve finely as the film’s only antagonists as the movie has no villains which was also a terrific choice. Some may consider the crows to be the villains, but I find them to be animal sidekicks and great ones at that.

I do realize that they may seem racist for today’s audiences as they obviously have those black accents, but I think people exaggerate too much. They are actually not stereotypical in my opinion but fully developed characters who helped our main duo significantly and not to mention that they are incredibly funny and unforgettable in behavior and many great lines.

Timothy Q. Mouse is definitely somewhat similar to Jiminy Cricket from ‘Pinocchio’, but still he is an excellent character. I loved how he cared for Dumbo and how he constantly tried to cheer him up and helped him. Their scenes are so lovely and he is such a nice, wonderful soul. The parody here is that he is a mouse and Dumbo is not afraid of him and I loved that they made fun of that stupid myth.

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Dumbo Movie Review

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Now in terms of animation, Dumbo is not great. That aspect is actually the film’s weakest one. I do not think it is bad and it is actually pretty good, but it is just not up to par with the studio’s three previous artistic achievements and some later movies as well. The reason why it isn’t as artistic is obvious – Disney opted to make a somewhat cheaper flick to capitalize in the troublesome war years and to recuperate from the losses of their two previous efforts.

That is why the film looks much less artistic and much more cartoony than Walt’s usual films in this period. The backgrounds are charming, but overly simplistic and less detailed. However, that is not to say that the film doesn’t have its terrific elements. The character design is one of them as all elephants, the mouse and crows look great. And of course the drunk sequence is amazing and so incredibly imaginative, crazy and just downright unbelievable and simply unforgettable. That is the only truly artistic, inspired animated scene in the film and it’s an all-time classic one at that.

Dumbo is definitely a musical which is all too often forgotten, but shouldn’t be as the film has a pretty terrific, very underrated soundtrack in its own right. The score itself is excellent and fitting in its setting and period, but the songs are mostly fantastic with three of them being classics by this point.

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Dumbo Movie Review

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I will first talk about the weaker numbers. Song of the Roustabouts serves its purpose in terms of imagery and plot point, but is entirely forgettable and somewhat annoying. Clown Song is actually pretty amusing, but way too short of course. Casey Junior also serves its purpose, but is again forgettable. Look Out for Mr. Stork is accompanied by a great sequence, truly wonderful. However, the song itself is somewhat dated and dull.

But let’s talk about the classics now. Pink Elephants on Parade is my least favorite of the three great songs here because it does not have enough singing in it, but the score itself is awesome, highly catchy and very atmospheric thus accompanying its wild, crazily nightmarish, imaginative sequence oh so well. This is the weirdest scene in the movie and it works because the animation is absolutely stellar and because the song is very strong.

Baby Mine is of course highly touching. This is one of the saddest Disney scenes of all time as watching Dumbo touch trunks with his mother who is confined is just heartbreaking. The scene works as it stops the entire story in its tracks and you are left with pure heartfelt emotion and such a terrific, gorgeously sung and simply beautiful musical number.

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Dumbo Movie Review

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And the standout one is of course When I See an Elephant Fly which is simply amazing when you think about it and oh so underrated when it comes to Disney’s classic songs. It is a jazz song which is in style and execution different than your usual Disney song and is thus highly original, but also phenomenally sung, infectiously catchy and with simply hilarious lyrics. I love it and I was happy that it got repeated in the end sequence.

Speaking of the ending, I have to talk about one film’s flaw which is minor but still relevant. It runs for just about 64 minutes which is basically an hour which is just too short. It is short, but sweet and it wouldn’t have worked if we got another thirty minutes as the story is too simple. However, the entire third act with the flying felt way too rushed. The rest of it was greatly paced, but that part was definitely abrupt. The circus action scenes were somewhat prolonged and not my favorites, but the highlights are the beginning, the ending, the crows scene, the mother-son reunion and the pink elephants scene.

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Dumbo Movie Review

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I loved the direction, the dialogue and the storyline – all are great. The film is simple but never simplistic. It works because its emotion is genuinely felt and because it has its charm in setting, music and characters. It is thus in the line of ‘Cinderella’ which is lower 4.5 rating, but still in the top twenty for the studio overall.

Dumbo is a great charmer. It is rushed in its third act and definitely short, but sweet. The animation isn’t as artistic as other films of its period, but it is still quite charming and highly imaginative and weird in the pink elephants sequence. The film is simple, but never simplistic and its emotional impact is undeniable as some scenes are truly touching. The characters are highly endearing as well with the crows, the protagonist and Timothy Q. Mouse being the highlights. The soundtrack is also pretty great and underrated as Pink Elephants on Parade, Baby Mine and When I See an Elephant Fly are all classics. In the end, Dumbo is one of Disney’s less ambitious, but sweetest and most endearing flicks.

My Rating – 4.5

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A Christmas Story (1983)

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A Christmas Story Movie Review

A Christmas Story is a 1983 family comedy film directed by Bob Clark. It is a pretty solid, but overrated holiday flick.

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No, you’ll shoot your eye out

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A Christmas Story Movie Review

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Now I have to say that I found watching this movie really odd owing to its structure. It has a main story but it wanders off of that course pretty regularly to present us a series of continuing vignettes. So in that way, the vignettes are bad and the main story is quite good leading to one good movie here and one bad film.

While watching the first half of A Christmas Story, I was really shocked. Not only disappointed, but honestly befuddled. Not only did I not see why people think it is great, but I also thought it was a very annoying, frustratingly cloying film that got on my nerves pretty quickly.

That is because those vignettes just did not work for me. They never did and thus they ruined the movie for me. The main story is so strong that it saved this film from being a total disaster, but still those detours were pretty insufferable. I disliked the lamp story, the dogs’ plot was also weak and every scene in the school was overly childish and highly annoying.

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A Christmas Story Movie Review

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But the second half fixed all that by getting back on track with the main storyline which is great. It is both charming, old-fashioned and highly endearing and even funny. The highlights are the two scenes that are so great that the film is worth seeing just for them alone.

One is the Santa Clause sequence which is absolutely hilarious and oh so truthful. I was scared of him as well and thus I found this scene very relatable and honest. The entire scene is so funny how bizarre it is. And of course the second great scene is the presents scene which is just lovely. It was wonderful seeing the whole family open presents and I adored those moments. The ending was so charming.

The film is weakly directed and edited, but definitely well acted and shot. I found its narration so annoying as that adult voice is very unappealing but the humor is great in the second half even though it was very bad in the first one. The characters are solid, but underdeveloped, Overall, it is a solid, but highly overrated, odd film.

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A Christmas Story Movie Review

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Watching the first half of A Christmas Story, I was utterly befuddled by what I was seeing and I found myself thinking – Is this really considered a Christmas classic? The narration is very annoying, the humor is odd, it felt too childish and those vignettes did not work for me at all as I found them very frustrating and mediocre. However, the second half fixed all of those problems by getting back on track with its main storyline and giving us two truly terrific scenes: one is that wonderful, charming presents sequence and the other is the Santa scene which is hilarious, bizarre and oh so relatable. So in the end, the film was saved by its second half from being a total disaster, but it still remains only solid and far from a classic deemed by so many people.

My Rating – 3.5

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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Movie Review

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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Movie Review

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is a 1999 space opera film directed by George Lucas and starring Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor among others. It is a first film in the prequel trilogy.

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Mom, you said that the biggest problem

in the universe is no one helps each other

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Movie Review

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Now I found this film to be okay and passable. Certainly not very good, but definitely far from bad as many do say. That is too harsh a statement as this film has a couple of standout scenes in it and those help it a lot. But nonetheless, most of it was a bore to me.

So it is a prequel set 32 years before ‘A New Hope’ and here we follow Anakin Skywalker as a kid and young Obi-Wan Kenobi with his master. Those two interested me as they were important. However, the other subplots are entirely unnecessary: either downright silly in the case of Jar Jar or downright tedious in the case of Padme. The one is too ridiculously childish and the politics was so pointless and not sophisticated at all but rather dull.

So let’s talk about the characters. Some are pretty good, but some are definitely weak. I really liked Qui-Gon Jinn. He is an excellent, caring and memorable Jedi master and I loved his relationship with Obi-Wan. Liam Neeson gave the best performance in the movie for sure. Obi-Wan is also excellent and I really enjoyed Ewan McGregor in this role, actually much more so than Alec Guinness before him.

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Movie Review

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Padme is bad, I never really liked her and her affection toward a kid basically is rather odd. And she is just a boring, underdeveloped character. Anakin is fine, but Jake Lloyd is so terrible in the role that he really hurt the entire character. I loved Palpatine and I wanted more from him and the same goes for Darth Maul who is underutilized, but so cool and a badass villain.

The robots are entirely forgettable here. Yoda is great of course, but he is better off as a puppet. And of course what is there yet to say that hasn’t been said before – Jar Jar Binks is such a horrible creation. Not only is he never funny or endearing at all in any shape or form, but he is also oddly designed and his effect is the only one I did not like in the film. I really disliked his entire species and he ruined this entire trilogy unfortunately.

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Movie Review

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The Phantom Menace is definitely gorgeously shot and with absolutely amazing, groundbreaking for 1999 special effects. They are indisputably mesmerizing. I loved the visuals and I loved the score, but the action was overwhelming and mostly dull and not particularly exciting and of course the script is weak and overly complicated with a particularly mediocre dialogue and most importantly awful humor.

The Phantom Menace has a lot of those insufferable, stupid “humorous” scenes and a lot of boring politics in it. It is a quasi-sophisticated film and never truly clever at all. However, as I said above, it has two absolutely brilliant sequences and those are worth giving the movie a shot alone.

The pod race sequence is simply fantastic – beautifully shot and executed with terrific, exhilarating action and the film is long, but never dull owing to how fun it is. And of course the duel between the two Jedi and Darth Maul is one of the best lightsaber duels in the history of Star Wars – beautifully choreographed almost like a dance, so cool and ending in such an emotional, powerful way.

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Movie Review

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The Phantom Menace is far from a great Star Wars film, but it isn’t terrible either as it has its particularly strong elements. It is an okay film which could have been much better had it not been for overwhelming action, mediocre dialogue, some weak performances and bad humor. Jar Jar Binks is a horrible creation and he ruined this movie plus the politics is unbearably boring and unnecessary. But the special effects are absolutely amazing, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson are great as Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon and the film has two simply fantastic sequences that it’s worth watching just for them alone: the pod race sequence is brilliantly executed and a lot of fun and the lightsaber duel between the two Jedi and Darth Maul is so cool and beautifully choreographed.

My Rating – 3

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Ponyo (2008)

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Ponyo Movie Review

Ponyo is a 2008 fantasy family film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one of Studio Ghibli’s most childlike films and one of their sweetest.

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Ponyo loves Sosuke!

I will be a human, too!

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Ponyo Movie Review

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Confession time – I did not care all too much about this film when I first saw it about five years ago. I thought it was a rip-off of a much better film ‘The Little Mermaid’. However, even though it is similar to that tale, it does have enough crucial differences that it can be said that it is inspired by it and certainly not a copy of it. Upon my second viewing, I find the film much better and it endeared me so much.

I liked that it’s a confined drama as much as it is a fantasy flick. I loved the beginning and the ending, but to me the highlights are the interactions between the two kids in the middle parts which could prove to be boring to some, but to me they stopped the story and they did it beautifully and I loved being in the moment with these kids and on this lovely small island. Some of the later scenes are actually more tedious to me than those in the house.

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Ponyo Movie Review

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Ponyo is just such a wonderful character – she is innocent, sweet, caring and always interested about the world and people around her. Sosuke is a good-natured, sweet boy who is actually the protagonist here and I found him incredibly endearing. As I said, their relationship is phenomenal and so well realized. I cared for both of them so much and just watching them together made my heart melt.

Lisa is just such a wonderful mother and a great role model for all mothers out there. She is a single parent in a way and she manages to do an amazing job with Sosuke. I loved how the two were friends as much as they were mother and son. Koichi as their father is also quite memorable if used sparingly and I adored the signaling scene which is so heartwarming.

Granmamare as this mythical creature-woman is the most fantastical and intriguing part of the film. Fujimoto as the villain of the story is not all that great. He has his moments and I absolutely loved his lair, but he was too weak a villain which is typical for children’s films. And I wouldn’t even call him a villain personally. As for the three grannies, I found their characters somewhat unnecessary, but they still brought quite a lot of charm and humor to the film.

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Ponyo Movie Review

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Ponyo is simply stunning in terms of animation. It is a modernized animation, but still a classic hand-drawn animation in style and approach and I loved that. It is a proof that underwater animation can be just as strong and just as beautiful as CGI. It is a very pleasing to look at, extremely colorful film with a great use of the color blue and especially red.

I loved the various memorable imagery here such as the underwater scenes, the overall island which is unforgettable and the house which is cozy and sweet. My only gripe is the character design. It is mostly excellent, but Ponyo looked weird as a fish and particularly odd as half-fish, half-human with those very unappealing chicken legs. I am definitely not a fan of that design.

So Ponyo is unoriginal in its story, but it does have its authentic quirks and turns. I thought that some of the scenes in the second half were not as interesting as the ones in the first half and the ending was kind of abrupt. The film is slow paced which I definitely enjoyed, but sometimes that approach came at the expense of the story.

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Ponyo Movie Review

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But even though it isn’t one of the studio’s strongest films, it also isn’t one of the weakest. It is so sweet and emotionally resonant that I think not a lot of people could possibly resist it. The voice acting is absolutely terrific on all fronts and the direction from Miyazaki is excellent, though his themes here are his typical themes. I found the pacing great and the dialogue quite good. The score is also very good as is the sound design.

Ponyo is such a charming, cozy and wonderfully endearing family film. It has its problems such as some of the character designs and the unoriginality of the plot, but still Miyazaki added enough quirks and interesting ideas to make it his own story. Ponyo and Sosuke are lovely  characters and their wonderful interactions are the highlights here. I also really enjoyed the slower pace as well as its simply gorgeous, detailed and colorful hand-drawn animation with a lot of memorable, beautiful imagery at display.

My Rating – 4

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Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella Movie Review

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Cinderella Movie Review

Cinderella is a 1950 animated musical fantasy film which is Disney’s 12th animated feature. It truly is one of the better Disney films of all time.

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They can’t order me to stop dreaming

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Cinderella Movie Review

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After almost a decade of low-quality package films, Disney is back with a classic Cinderella, the film which will prove to be one of the best Disney films and one of their most fondly remembered pictures decades later. It surely has its obvious flaws, but the strengths are abundant that they mostly render those flaws minor.

First, the characters. There is a plethora of characters in this movie – from the innocent protagonist to wonderfully evil villains to the prince and his silly father to the mice, the necessary sidekicks. Cinderella is, like Snow White – kind, pretty, a good singer and great with animals, but unlike the first Disney Princess, she has a bit of a feisty and rebellious attitude making her more believable and modern. She is not too developed, but still a solid early Disney Princess who is actually much more active than people nowadays give her credit for. She actually went to the ball and managed to find her own happiness instead of waiting for it to happen.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Prince Charming is unfortunately a non-entity as the most underdeveloped character in the film. It is a shame, but at least all of the other characters are strongly developed and he would have been more utilized had the film been longer in length, but more on that later on.

Charming’s father is an interesting attempt at comedy proving to be quite an unexpectedly funny creation. He is very desperate in his need for grandchildren which is realistic given the time period portrayed and he is a needed comic relief, influencing the fathers in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in the process.

Now, the mice. They are at times funny, at times sweet and always helpful. Their chases with Lucifer should prove entertaining for children and a pleasant diversion for adults. Those action scenes are definitely cartoony, but still done so well and pleasantly reminded me of classic cartoons such as Tom and Jerry. Bruno is particularly memorable as this fat, food obsessed but also very endearing mouse.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Their voices are awfully squeaky and they more than occasionally feel as if they were the protagonists thus ruining the film’s pacing a bit and greatly contributing to Cinderella’s lesser screen time. But still they are endearing enough that the film did not suffer too much for having them appear too often. Plus I liked that this is the ultimate Disney Princess animal film as here Cinderella not only speaks to animals and helps them, but it is a mutual relationship as they help her too and they do help her a lot. The relationship is wonderful and important in terms of storytelling too.

Lucifer is one of the most villainous animal characters in all of Disney films thanks to his mean personality and negative attitude towards the protagonist. I do think that this film is not for a cat person as they are very much the villains here whereas the dogs are heroes, but still I liked that archetypical approach as here it worked in its favor and fitted the film really well. And he truly is a great animal villain or henchman should I say.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Grand Duke is a funny counteract to the King and I really liked their amusing interactions. Fairy Godmother is of course very endearing and such a wonderful character. She is great both as a necessary story point and as the necessary magical element in the film. Anastasia and Drizella are very funny as these ugly, incompetent and stupid stepsisters.

But the one character who totally stands out is Lady Tremaine. She is mean, cold and just plain evil, coming across as even scary in some noir-influenced scenes. Her attitude along with her voice work and actions make her one of the very best Disney villains, probably better than Maleficent and the Queen because she does not need powers to be scary and evil. She is at the top or near the top of the list of best Disney villains and definitely the most underrated villain as well. A very menacing presence and even more disturbing for being a real, non-magical person.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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This famous fairy tale is very well adapted here as Cinderella is enchanting, magical, endearing and always mesmerizing to watch. The highlights of course include the ball dance, some of the cat and mouse chases, every scene with Lady Tremaine and the dress making scene which is an unforgettable, simply beautiful Disney sequence. The film should have been much longer in length as the mice took too much of the screen time this way and the second half felt somewhat rushed. The first act is prolonged and the third is rushed but despite weaker pacing, the story is great and wonderfully traditional that it in the end works.

While the animation is not on par with the studio’s first couple of films, it is nonetheless far better than the package films thanks to an interesting beginning, colorful style and an artistic ballroom sequence. The character design is excellent and the interiors look great, but to me the highlights here are the exteriors. This is a rare animated film which feels like a concept-art come to life as some scenes (especially the outside ones) are so elegant, artistic and dreamlike in their quality that they almost felt like paintings. I loved that artistic angle here.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Cinderella’s soundtrack grew on me over time. I still think that it is one of the weaker of the Disney Golden Age soundtracks, but still quite solid with some great songs. Cinderella serves its purpose as the opening of the film with that classic book added. The lyrics are too descriptive and spoilery, but the song is quite okay and catchy in a traditional way.

Sing Sweet Nightingale is way too short in length, but again it serves its purpose in terms of storytelling and as a showcase of the contrast between Cinderella and her stepsisters. The Work Song is the weakest song in the film which is accompanied by a wonderful scene where the mice make her a dress, but their squeaky voices ruined an otherwise catchy number. So This is Love is a forgettable Disney ballad again accompanied by a wonderful scene, but the song itself is too short and not memorable, catchy or romantic enough.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Of course the two best numbers here are Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes. The former is such a wonderful children’s song which is incredibly catchy, fast and irresistible to sing along to while the latter actually grew on me over time as at first I did not care for it, but now I really like it. It is the classic “I Wish” Disney Princess song and the ultimate moment for the main character. The lyrics are great, the song is wonderfully traditional and so well sung with the highlight being the last chorus. I loved its scene too.

Thanks to superb villains and their awful actions, you can’t help but feel sad for the main character, making the film one of the darker films in the canon because of its evident sense of danger and sadistic intentions of Lady Tremaine.

The tearing of the dress scene is unforgettable in its brutal and heartbreaking imagery. Even though Cinderella’s characterization is not particularly strong, you always root for her and you are happy at the end when everything turns out fine. Lady Tremaine, like all of ‘Pinochio’s villains, ends unpunished and she has never made a single mistake making her one of the best villains ever to come from Disney.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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The humor is quite good at times and I loved the film’s diverse tone and also its elegant score. It is abrupt in its ending, but flies by how short and incredibly engaging and wonderful it is. The best part of the film is its emotional aspect. So in the end, the film is not quite on part with some of Disney’s previous classics, but it was still a great, important step in the right direction for the studio and certainly one of their better films out there.

It is certainly way too short in length and somewhat rushed, but Cinderella was nonetheless a phenomenal return to form for Disney with mostly strong character development, evident emotion and sense of danger, engaging story, solid humor and such an elegant, artistic animation style to it. The soundtrack is weaker than most of Disney’s Golden Age soundtracks, but it still features two classics in Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes. The mice take away too much of the screen time, but I still really like the classic cartoon animal chases here. It has its minor flaws, but it is still one of the better Disney films thanks in no small part to Lady Tremaine who truly remains one of the finest and most menacing Disney villains of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

Flight of the Navigator is a 1986 family science fiction film starring Joey Cramer. It surely is one of the better family sci-fi films out there.

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Correction, I need the SUPERIOR information

in your INFERIOR brain to fly this thing

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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It follows a 12-year-old boy who gets abducted by aliens and ends up on Earth 8 years later. It is a very interesting, somewhat original tale which was very involving to watch and, thanks to its short runtime, quite entertaining and consistently well paced and even riveting.

It has some typical 80s trappings such as some goofy moments and humor, but it manages to be better than most of its family counterparts thanks in large part to the inclusion of science fiction elements. Sci-fi family films are rare and this one manages to be a pretty strong SF film in its own right and a particularly strong, wonderful film for children.

It only has a handful of memorable characters as it mostly relies just on David the protagonist. His family is sweet and I especially liked his brother and their relationship was strong and very realistic. Sarah Jessica Parker was just around 20 when filming this movie and it was very interesting seeing her so young in a role and she did a really nice job as charming Carolyn.

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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David Freeman is a charming, likable kid. He should have been a bit better developed, but he is so endearing that I ended up caring and rooting for him. Joey Cramer’s performance is frequently weak, but he is definitely charismatic and likable in the role that he managed to overcome his lack of strong acting abilities.

Max is problematic and the only problem in the film. Now I admittedly really liked him at first, but I ended up being annoyed at the choice to have him upload David’s memories and thus he got some speech patterns and voices of humans. Those were way too goofy, overloud and annoying. Because the new voices were childish, their relationship, at first strong and moving, was later somewhat robbed of its impact. They are still a great duo, but I just wished that he retained that old robotic voice personally.

Flight of the Navigator has a bunch of memorable sequences such as every flight sequence which were all wondrous in quality and the ending is very sweet of course. I loved the aliens’ scene and they mostly looked really well. I could see that they were puppets, but the one he took to take care of was the highlight in terms of the design. The film is somewhat slower in first half and more dramatic with the latter half becoming full-on science fiction. I liked that quite a bit and that structure and pacing were excellent here.

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Flight of the Navigator Movie Review

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This charmer undoubtedly features some of the best special effects of any 80s film. Wow, does it look great. The creatures looked fine and cute, but the robot looks great and especially that spaceship looked amazing and how it flew and moved around was very realistic. This is early CGI and having in mind that it holds up so well even today definitely is remarkable. But it does open itself for future remakes which they are making as I am typing this. The score is incredibly beautiful as well and the film’s strong technical aspects really propel it to a classic status.

Flight of the Navigator is at times a bit too goofy, but mostly a remarkable family science fiction tale. Max and David are memorable characters, the flight sequences are wondrous in their quality and the ending is very sweet. Thanks to its imaginative plot, beautiful score and simply outstanding CGI (certainly some of the best of the 80s), this flick remains endearing and moving today just as it was back then.

My Rating – 4.5

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Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Mrs. Doubtfire Review

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Mrs. Doubtfire Movie Review

Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 family comedy film directed by Chris Columbus and starring Robin Williams and Sally Field. It is a flawed, but charming film.

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Broke my bag, the bastard. Ooh!

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Mrs. Doubtfire Movie Review

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This is surely one of my childhood favorites as I have watched it on TV as a kid multiple times. As an adult, it is nowhere near as magical and some ugly flaws are revealed to me now, but it still holds up pretty well and is a good film overall.

All of these drag comedy films such as this one and ‘Tootsie’ are pretty dated in today’s society where trans women and drag queens are getting more and more recognition and respect. And surely enough, there are some scenes here that are awfully uncomfortable, dated and transphobic with the urination exposition scene being the most obvious offender.

Still this film is so charming, wonderful and endearing that you can’t help but enjoy it tremendously. It did not need to last for two hours, but it is so entertaining and wonderfully childlike that it mostly flies by and I’ve had such a great time watching it. The overall story promotes fatherhood in a great, meaningful manner and I honestly loved that the two did not stay together, but found a way for both to have a lot of time with the kids. That was great.

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Mrs. Doubtfire Movie Review

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Robin Williams’ humor is pretty dated in my opinion as it is overly theatrical. And this movie is never truly hilarious and although funny at times, it should have been much funnier having in mind it’s a comedy. But still it is amusing and his character here is amazing and really well developed and imagined. He definitely gave one of his stronger performances here.

Sally Field is also great and reliably fantastic in the wife’s role. I loved the relationship between the two and to me the film succeeded in realistically portraying a marriage that is ending. The kids are fine, but should have been more memorable. And Pierce Brosnan is very well cast as this potential love interest for Miranda and he did a good job in the role.

Mrs. Doubtfire is the best in the scenes with the character being in the house with the children and talking with the wife. I wish it had more such scenes. The restaurant scene is very typical in its situational comedy, but still very well done. I also really liked the animation scene at the beginning.

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Mrs. Doubtfire Movie Review

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The movie is very well made and superbly acted and also directed by Chris Columbus who was a perfect choice for this family flick. It is long, but entertaining and mostly solidly paced. Of course the make-up is amazing and deservedly won an Oscar. I definitely thought that the film was overly sentimental at times, but still undeniably sweet and moving in those scenes. Overall, it isn’t quite as good as when I saw it as a kid, but it still holds up well.

Mrs. Doubtfire is a childhood favorite that is overly dated in some of its humor and sometimes excessively sentimental, but still it holds up pretty well thanks to Robin Williams’ very strong performance in a highly memorable role, some charming and funny scenes and a great ending. It is a very flawed, but undeniably sweet and pleasant family flick.

My Rating – 4

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

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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.

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I saw her ankles. You would’ve seen a lot more

if you kept your cakehole shut

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

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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.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

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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.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

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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.

My Rating – 3.5

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