July 12, 2017
I actually saw Cars 3 in June (and in theatres) but forgot to blog about it till now. It’s way down in my priority list because it wasn’t something I wanted to see, but something I took the kids too (I’m not sure they really wanted to see it either).
I was looking for a kids movie to watch in theatres and this was the best option. The boys like Lightning McQueen, and even though this was the third installment, it didn’t seem to get the Finding Dory treatment and get older and scarier. It was still rated G and from other reviews it seemed fairly safe. Of course, shortly into the movie, McQueen has a huge crash and freaked out the kids for the rest of the time.
Overall, the movie gets a 3 out of 5 stars from me. Being a Pixar movie, it is expected that adults will find it interesting, and the movie didn’t feel dumbed down; although it wasn’t particularly exciting or a strong story (I may have missed a lot of context as I didn’t watch the first two movies). There was another strong female heroine which, while positive, is getting a little overplayed. In turn, the male protagonists are now goofballs.
April 17, 2017
It took me a long, long time to watch this movie. I forget why I originally picked it, but I think it was on a flight from New York. The movie is 97 mins long so I only saw 2/3rd of it, but the next flight I took (I think it was in the same month) didn’t have it playing anymore! So I haven’t been able to finish watching it until this month. Fortunately, I had to ffwd to the spot were I stopped, and was able to get a refresher.
Whenever I watch cartoons now, I evaluate whether my kids can watch the movie. Finding Dory is definitely too scary for my young boys – Dory and baby Dory are put into too many situations which would be frightening. However, if you were young and watched Finding Nemo when it came out, I think you’d be the right age for this movie now (if not too old)! Otherwise I think you need to be over 7 to really watch it.
The story deals with Dory’s issue…namely her lack of short term memory. She goes on a mission to find her parents and discover her childhood. Along the way, she encounters a bunch of other marine animals who each have sort of significant mental or physical problem. Working together, the group overcomes their individual challenges and are stronger as a whole. That’s a decent moral message.
The other moral message in this movie seems to be to “take risks!”, even against the behest of your parents. I’m not sure this should be a blanket moral message though, and I thought Finding Nemo taught it better (sometimes you need to go out of your comfort zone).
I felt Finding Nemo was more enjoyable and fun, and Finding Dory had a lot more scary or challenging situations. That might leave your child in a unhappy state. But it’s no problem for an adult – this is a 3 out of 5 star movie.
January 4, 2017
Sing! is an animated musical by the makers of Despicable Me that is similar to American Idol – a bunch of rag tag normal folk who turn out to be great singers compete for a grand prize. The only difference is that this is a cartoon and it takes place in an animal city.
Sing! almost seems inspired by Zootopia because you again have the cultural hotpot of different animals living together in a single city. However, the execution is much poorer as there really isn’t a lot of interaction between the traits.
In fact, it’s a pretty poor imitation with a subpar, formulaic plot. Every character struggles through some challenges, which they eventually overcome (mostly because they are in a cartoon world). Then they sing and the entire world is happy!
We actually saw this in a movie theatre and picked this movie because Apollo was with us (it was the most appropriate one over Rogue One or Moana or Trolls). I enjoyed it because I liked music, but otherwise I think it would be pretty boring. I’ll give this a (barely) three out of five stars.
June 7, 2016
When I reviewed the list of movies available to watch on my flight, there really weren’t a lot of films that I really had to watch (even Deadpool was not a must-watch). However, I noticed that my neighbor was watching Zootopia even though I didn’t see it in my list previously. I wanted to watch Zootopia when I heard that it was the top grossing animated movie this year, but then after seeing this funny trailer, I was really interested.
The premise of Zootopia is similar to The Good Dinosaur where humans did not become the dominant species. In Zootopia, all mammals evolved and became human-like. One of the most fun things about this film is seeing how animals do human things (like getting drinks or listening to mp3s). The second fun thing is to see how different species of animals interact with each other.
The animation was great, although I’m not sure if it was because my screen was small. Even if it was due to resizing effects, I think the life-likeness of the animals was very impressive, specifically the facial expressions. It was noticeable and easy to tell child animal mannerisms from grown adult ones. Although, it’s also possible that this has to do with being unfamiliar of how animals facial features might express human emotions.
After the story started in earnest, I began to lose track of these cool elements (which is a shame, maybe worth watching a second time just to watch the background). The story isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t compare to the concept, environment and animation. The plot is a bit mature so I don’t think it’ll be enjoyable for little kids even though its theme (diversity and inclusion) is worthwhile for children to understand! Overall the execution was great, but the plot (being a non-adult movie) drags it down slightly to be a 4 out of 5 stars in my book.
April 28, 2016
The last movie that I watched on my flight to Korea was Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. I’ve enjoyed most of Pixar’s films but I did not enjoy this one that much. I think the main reason was that it was a kids movie, and unlike previous Pixar movies, it did not have a lot of depth for adults.
What attracted my attention was the What If premise, whereby the meteor that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs missed earth. Dinosaurs began developing a civilized society and humans became scavengers – the little pet human in the movie is like a puppy. Beneath this role reversal is your typical coming of age story.
I didn’t really notice the animation until the end credits (mostly because I was paying attention to the movie), but the animation is really nice. The end credits look like live footage (at least on my airplane screen), with tough subject matter like water and leaves! But sadly, I don’t watch a movie just for the animation so the fact that the story didn’t appeal to me gives this a 2 out of 5 stars.
September 6, 2015
I almost fit Pixar’s Inside Out onto my flight to NY (only 95 mins) and just missed the denouement and credits. I’ve read some people say that this is the best Pixar movie so far. While I don’t conclusively agree, I think it does take on an interesting topic for kids – they usually don’t watch movies that are introspective.
The movie happens at the critical point of childhood where they grow up to be a teenager. Riley, the main character has a cross-country move to compound her difficulties adjusting to this period and that gives ample opportunity for her emotions to take over.
I liked the idea of being in one’s mind and understanding actions. Unlike Osmosis Jones, Inside Out shows an angle to kids where they may not have developed a lot or understood about themselves yet. That’s much more useful than imagining your immune system. As an adult, I found the 5 characters a bit simplistic. I guess those are the core emotions. But when they were in the parents head, they probably have more refined roles/emotions that perform decisions.
Watching Inside Out leads to an interesting thought experiment to understand what drives ones own behavior. However, I didn’t think the movie was overly entertaining or funny – although it is a tear jerker at times. Three out of five stars from me.