Porky the Giant Killer (1939)

Porky the Giant Killer ReviewPorky the Giant Killer Review

Porky the Giant Killer is a 1939 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a solid short.

As the stories with giants go, this one certainly isn’t one of the best, but it’s also not one of the worst. The problem with it is that it lacks real danger as the giant is way too mild and not intimidating enough. And of course the film is just way too long clocking in at around eight minutes and thus the first half is very slow.

But the second half is a major improvement with some solid gags and moments. I liked the animation and the baby character is okay, but it was nice seeing Porky finally take the front stage and he was fantastic here. The highlight is the ending and every time he stuttered which was super cute and endearing. They made use of his personality so well here.

Porky the Giant Killer is boring and slow, but it surely has its amusing moments with Porky Pig being terrific here.

My Rating – 3.7

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Fagin’s Freshman (1939)

Fagin's Freshman ReviewFagin’s Freshman Review

Fagin’s Freshman is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is an okay short.

This is pretty much a rip-off of Disney’s ‘The Robber Kitten’ as the plot is very similar with just the setting and time period being changed. Again it starts in the same way and ends with the kitten learning his lesson. The framing is very standard here, but definitely the middle section is the highlight.

Those scenes parallel usual gangster fare from the thirties really well which I liked. I really liked Fagin and he is the only memorable character in this film as he pretty much steals the show from everyone else. The score is forgettable, but the animation is actually really nice. The character design is nothing original, but the color palette and the overall look to the film is very strong.

Fagin’s Freshman is very rehashed, but mostly well done and very well animated. The middle section is the highlight here.

My Rating – 3.4

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Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)

Olaf's Frozen Adventure ReviewOlaf’s Frozen Adventure Review

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is a 2017 animated short film which ended up being a television special. It is a second ‘Frozen’ short.

So the film is basically just one giant celebration and promotion of Christmas and the holidays which is done for better and for worse. It was obviously commercialized, but still very charming. Elsa and Anna do not have a family tradition and it is up to Olaf to find one but he gets lost and they have to find him. Eventually they realize that he is their family tradition. Yes, this is a very sugar-coated children’s film which is particularly cloying in its third act.

But I still liked the emphasis on Olaf as he was very endearing here. Elsa and Anna are okay but not too present. Sven actually stole the show for me as he was hilarious. Kristoff is solid and this duo is very amusing, but Sven in particular is hilarious in the scene where he tries to explain to him that Olaf is in danger. The animation is excellent and definitely theater-worthy. I loved its attention to detail and colorful approach. But the score is only medium and its songs are for the most part very forgettable and typical with only That Time of Year being even remotely memorable.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is cloying, commercialized and with a weak soundtrack, but great animation and some funny and charming scenes leading to a solid film which is an improvement over ‘Frozen Fever’.

My Rating – 3.3

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Ryan (2004)

Ryan ReviewRyan Review

Ryan is a 2004 Canadian Oscar winning animated short film directed by Chris Landreth. It is a bad film.

This is the kind of drug-oriented films which I just dislike tremendously. It is only intended to appeal to people who had these issues and to me it is thus very annoying. The film is your regular documentary about a Canadian animator Ryan Larkin and is basically a typical documentary with nothing interesting happening in it. It bored me quite a lot.

Of course its approach and animation are original, but I still did not like this animation as it feels ridiculous and too odd and unappealing. It is fitting to the subject matter I guess, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it looks bad. I also disliked its narration and dialogue quite a bit. Even if the film is to some technically innovative, the fact remains that it’s very problematic in terms of storytelling and dialogue.

Ryan is such an undeserved, poor Oscar winner with unappealing animation, dialogue and approach.

My Rating – 2

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Fresh Fish (1939)

Fresh Fish ReviewFresh Fish Review

Fresh Fish is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a weak short.

It is one of those Merry Melodies where we have a narrator who explains stuff and we are to be acquainted with a culture or this time around a setting which is the sea. The film showcases life of the fish and it follows various groups of fish with the only highlight being that fish teacher with the rest being all boring and forgettable.

The narration is okay and not too annoying. The animation is definitely solid with pretty good character design. But the score is forgettable and the film fails when it comes to humor and action as it is boring and never at all funny as it has no gags whatsoever. It is an old-fashioned Merry Melody with all that comes with it.

Fresh Fish is one of those narrated Merry Melodies which are okay, but dated and not particularly entertaining.

My Rating – 3.3

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Pied Piper Porky (1939)

Pied Piper Porky ReviewPied Piper Porky Review

Pied Piper Porky is a 1939 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very strong short.

Porky here is the Pied Piper, but the film actually happens after that famous story which was a nice, really fresh idea I liked a lot. He gets tormented by a mouse and then calls a cat to help him with the mouse but with no results. In my opinion, Looney Tunes entries are getting very problematic in their insistence to use the character of Porky Pig. If they use him, let him have a bigger role, but here once again he gets to have a very small impact on the story which was unfortunate.

Pied Piper Porky is nonetheless one of the strongest Looney Tunes of the late 30s mainly because of that mouse who is absolutely hilarious. His line about the trap stole the show as it was perfectly delivered and so funny, but the ending is also memorable and incredibly dark. The cat fearing the mouse was also quite funny. There are a lot of quality gags here and the mix of Tom and Jerry with the series’ crazy antics worked in its favor.

Pied Piper Porky needed more Porky as he is useless here, but the film is hilarious with a lot of terrific and such funny moments.

My Rating – 4.2

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The Whoopee Party (1932)

The Whoopee Party ReviewThe Whoopee Party Review

The Whoopee Party is a 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a weaker entry.

Mickey is having a party in which he and the others are preparing a meal while Minnie is playing the piano. Naturally this particular setup I’ve seen many times before which is why this film is immensely rehashed and disappointing. It is another boring all-musical short with no plot and or almost no gags at all which is troublesome as I thought they were finally moving in the right direction with more plot.

There is however one great thing about this movie and that is of course Goofy. He is phenomenal and so funny here. He appears in the last act of the film and is his typical crazy, laughing lunatic and I loved that part just because of him. I want more Goofy in the near future and I hope that actually happens.

The Whoopee Party’s ending with Goofy steals the show, but the rest of the cartoon is your typical, traditional, plotless musical.

My Rating – 3.4

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Coco (2017)

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Coco Movie Review

Coco is a 2017 animated fantasy musical film directed by Lee Unkrich. It is a strong film from Pixar, but far from their best works.

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I thought I was related to a murderer!

You’re a total upgrade!

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Coco Movie Review

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I was tremendously excited for Coco and I have been looking forward to it for a very long time. It was actually one of my three most anticipated films for 2017. But unfortunately it ended up being a disappointment for me. The film is quite good, don’t get me wrong. But it is just not great and certainly not amazing. My expectations were too high I guess.

So it follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is transported to the land of the dead where he seeks help from his ancestor to return him back to the living world. The boy wants to be a musician, but his family disapproves. Now basically in that disapproving part I found it to be disappointing as I never really got why they opposed music so much. And I also found the first act somewhat lacking as it was too rushed and lacking in characterization.

The film definitely became much better in the second act and that second act is easily the highlight for me as the third one was overly emotional. I do realize now why so many people are getting frustrated with Pixar’s emotional manipulation. Coco isn’t manipulative, but certainly its last scene is overly sentimental. But I do think they somewhat earned that emotion, but not fully for sure.

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Coco Movie Review

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The second act is where the movie shines because it features wonderful fantasy and adventure elements and very memorable plot points. The twist itself I did see coming. I mean I didn’t predict it fully, but I did expect the darker turn and that obviousness was problematic for me. However, they still did the best they could with it and although somewhat soapy, it made the film very intriguing nonetheless.

Let’s talk about its characters. Miguel is very good and likable. He’s a standard, but still a good protagonist. Ernesto de la Cruz is very memorable and effective. Hector is easily the best character in the entire film as he is very well developed, immensely likable and the relationship between him and Miguel is fantastic. The grandmother is too strict, the parents are boring and of course Coco herself is a fantastic plot device. The film needed more characters and better characterization of the supporting players.

Coco is definitely a musical as it relies on music so much, but I have to say that it does that with mixed results. For a film which literally is about music, you would think that we would get a great soundtrack, but what we got was a pretty weak, forgettable soundtrack which is never, ever on par with Disney’s classics.

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Coco Movie Review

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La Llorona is the only song apart from the main one which is even remotely memorable as Everyone Knows Juanita, Un Poco Loco and all of the others are so forgettable that I already have forgotten them. They really needed stronger songwriters for this film.

Of course Remember Me is the standout song. It isn’t great, but it is pretty good with moving lyrics and I particularly liked how it was used so well in all those different sequences in different contexts. But I still had a problem with that approach as using mostly this one song meant that we got less of the other songs which was a giant problem the movie never overcame.

The animation is the best reason to see Coco in my opinion. It is phenomenal. It isn’t as inventive as ‘Inside Out’ was but it’s still very strong and particularly polished and colorful with a great use of many wonderful colors to accompany its Mexican setting so well. The colors of green, yellow and orange were the highlights. The character design is solid and I loved how the skeletons looked and moved.

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Coco Movie Review

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The world building is amazing and they created this whole world populated with the dead beautifully. That is actually the highlight of the film along with its animation – the mythology. I loved the concept of fading or second death after all living people forget you. That was a very powerful and sophisticated approach and I loved it. The film does deal with the theme of death so well and cleverly which is why its final emotional scene is not manipulative.

The voice acting is especially strong and emotionally evocative. The direction from Lee Unkrich is very good as well and the pacing of the film apart from its beginning is pretty good. The score is also very good, but not as great as the trailers promised me. The whole film is just never as fantastic as the trailers were leading to an eventual disappointment for me.

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Coco Movie Review

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Coco is a very good, but unfortunately disappointing film which is far from Pixar’s best works. The standout aspects are its world building which is amazing, its animation which is beautiful and pleasingly colorful and its mythology which has some very interesting concepts very well explored. The film explores death so well, it is sophisticated in that theme and it is particularly effective in the portrayal of Mexican culture and Día de los Muertos. The characterization is good and I particularly loved the second act with the fantasy adventure angle to it. But even though its emotional ending was somewhat earned, it was still too sentimental. The twist is also quite easy to predict. And its major problem is the soundtrack. Remember Me is definitely a good, well utilized song, but the rest of the songs are very weak and never at all comparable to the works of Disney. And when you have a film that is literally about music, you need to have a killer soundtrack which sadly isn’t the case with Coco.

My Rating – 4

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The Good Egg (1939)

The Good Egg ReviewThe Good Egg Review

The Good Egg is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is an endearing short.

The hen is childless and cannot hatch until it finally hatches a turtle with a beak who eventually becomes a life guard of all the little chicken. In my opinion, this film is obviously Warner Bros. attempt at ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and it is infinitely worse than that classic. It is overly Disney-like in style and execution and it has no gags whatsoever.

But I could not deny its sweetness. The animation and score are solid but the highlight is that wonderful turtle and the ending which is very sweet and immensely heartwarming. The beginning is also quite sad with the childless hen. The middle parts were lacking, but the rest was pretty solid.

The Good Egg is sort of like a Disney cartoon – an endearing, cute cartoon which is sweet, but lacking in gags and originality.

My Rating – 4.2

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The Little Lion Hunter (1939)

The Little Lion Hunter ReviewThe Little Lion Hunter Review

The Little Lion Hunter is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a phenomenal short.

This is the first film starring Inki and Mynah bird. Inki is a black boy who explores the wilderness and gets in trouble with the lion. Mynah bird is this very odd, voiceless, mysterious bird who eventually rescues him from the lion but kicks him in the butt in that hilarious end gag. The film is great for featuring very memorable characters. I liked the lion and Inki is very cute and endearing though obviously caricatured.

But obviously the bird is the highlight as such a mysterious, very intriguing and memorable presence. Great character design as well. I loved this bird so much. The cartoon is a bit slow at first, but pleasantly atmospheric, very well scored and with some fun antics and memorable action. It truly is the most original Merry Melody in quite a while, maybe even the most original so far.

The Little Lion Hunter is a very authentic, intriguing short with unforgettable, mysterious Mynah bird and a fantastic ending.

My Rating – 4.2

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