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On the Way… Now a Review of “Ice Age” (2002)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

One of the greatest prehistoric-set movies of all time is “Ice Age”. I am amazed how much effort the creators did to use prehistoric creatures. They got to use pretty much any kind, except dinosaurs.

The three main characters’ voice actors did such a great job with their roles. John Leguizamo expressed such great humor on Sid the sloth. Ray Romano did a superb job as the cranky Manny the mammoth. Dennis Leary portrayed Diego the dark saber-toothed tiger very well.

And Scrat? Ah, you can’t forget him—constantly chasing his acorn. He may not speak or be part of the main trio (or the group of 4 if you add the baby), but Scrat’s moments are wonderful. There was one moment in the film where Sid, Manny, Diego, and the baby came into contact with Scrat.

Speaking of which, the film begins with Scrat, trying to get his acorn in the snow. He falls and the snow is gone. He catches his acorn, and a larger animal steps on him. The title sequence and opening credits start.

The animals are migrating to prepare for the ice age. Manny goes in another direction. Another scene shows Sid waking up and unable to find his family. After accidentally angering a couple rhinos, Sid runs from them and meets Manny. Sid shows interest in being Manny’s companion. But Manny is too moody and prefers to be alone.

Another point-of-view shows the human baby and his parents. Diego and the other tigers are watching. At some point, the tigers attack. Diego almost gets the baby until the mother catches him. She runs away with the child, but dies as she sees Manny and Sid. Sid takes the baby. Shortly after, Diego meets Sid and Manny. They begin their journey to return the baby to the other humans.

This film had a lot of action, humor, and emotional moments. The scene where the animal trio and the baby get separated in the ice slide tunnels was funny. The baby had no fear whatsoever. The animal trio was for the most part good with the baby. Diego didn’t always act appropriately to the child, though. Sometimes, however, he was brighter than Sid. Sid tended to naïve and didn’t always make smart choices. Like when Manny suggested milk for the baby, Sid reacted with, “Ooh, I’d love some.” Diego clarified that Manny was taking about the baby.

The dodo scene was awesome. I appreciated their Tae-kwon-do scene when the main trio just wanted to give the infant food. And Sid won. There was a slow-motion effect as Sid fought the dodos.

Now the film is not without its flaws. There is one inconsistency I noticed. At the end, when Sid is getting emotional and teary as the baby has been returned to his father and the other people, Diego comes back and says, “You know humans can’t talk.” But the baby’s mother talked. Diego was even there. When she ran away with the baby, she turned around to the other humans and said, “Bye.” I guess Diego must’ve forgot by the film’s end—or had tuned out during that time. I don’t know.

Nevertheless, “Ice Age” was a fantastic movie. There are three sequels after, I believe. I would rate this 5 out of 5 stars.

 

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Tick Tock on “The House with a Clock in its Walls” Review (2018)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I saw this film with some friends, not knowing what it was going to be about. In some ways, it made the movie more exciting as everything was a surprise.

The film begins with 10-year-old Lewis, who was recently orphaned and is being sent to live with his uncle, Jonathan. Uncle Jonathan seems nice and doesn’t place any rules at that moment. His house, however, seems haunted to Lewis. Lewis’s mom comes up in Lewis’s dream and says that Uncle Jonathan is evil. Lewis wakes up and believes that. He tries to escape. Even the kids at Lewis’s new school consider the house dangerous. They also don’t care about Lewis. Uncle Jonathan’s one rule is not to open a certain cabinet. Tarby, a classmate of Lewis, tries to disobey that guideline, thinking that it’s no problem. Desperate to make friends with Tarby, Lewis breaks that rule and unintentionally raises Isaac Izzard from the dead. It takes time for Uncle Jonathan and his neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman, to listen to Lewis when he tries to admit that he opened that forbidden cabinet. After Lewis confessing his wrongdoing, things get worse and intense.

The movie had its light and dark moments. It also had some strange material, such as toilet humor. I had to cover my eyes when the winged lion excreted. That moment when Lewis is trying to undo the eclipse, Uncle Jonathan turns into a baby with the same adult face and voice. I was trying not to laugh, even after that scene. Does humor like that really belong in a dark moment?

Despite it being rated PG, there were a couple of mature words as well as some intensely dark moments that I was getting goosebumps from, even as an adult. I thought it would’ve been better off PG-13.

On the bright side, the story has a lot of excellent elements. The plot was well-thought-out. I appreciated the plot twists, such as when the neighbor, Mrs. Hanchett, was really Selena in disguise this whole time and her dog was Selena’s rat. Selena has been disguised as Lewis’s mom in Lewis’s dreams the entire time. I also admired how Uncle Jonathan was actually a good guy this whole time, despite the hints of him being wicked at the beginning. After the eclipse was undone, he told Lewis not to tell Mrs. Zimmerman about his baby body during the eclipse process. I found that to make him very believable.

Overall, I would rate this 4 out of 5 stars. I’m not sure if I’d recommend this to very young children, but older kids 10 and up may enjoy it. Note, I never read the book and didn’t know there was a book of this until after I saw the movie. I may check it out, though.

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The Words Will Speak… For “Grease” Analysis (1978 film)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

Over 40 years have passed since this movie has been released. It follows an Australian girl, Sandy, who is in love with a Brooklyn boy, Danny, and the love triangle Sandy goes through with Danny and another guy. Other characters, such as the girls who call themselves the pink ladies and the guys who call themselves the thunderbirds, play major roles as well.

The musical numbers are amazing. I love the songs, “You’re the One that I Want”, “Sandra Dee”, “Grease Lightning”, and “Summer Nights”. Recently, however, I noticed that some of the questions in “Summer Nights” are rude to ask in real life, such as “How much dough did he spend?” or “Did she put up a fight?” I guess trying to fit in, “That’s none of your business” into the lyrics would’ve been out of place and would’ve felt forced. Oh well. “Grease” isn’t a kid’s movie. So audiences will probably know the boundaries of what is okay in real life and what stays on the screen.

I liked the “Romeo & Juliet” reference right after the “Sandra Dee” number: “Wherefore art thou Sandy?”. Ha ha, Shakespeare never gets tiring.  The scenes where Danny is struggling with sports tryouts were great, as well. They made him feel real and likable.

I also didn’t expect a lot of cartoons within the movie, like what the characters watched. Sometimes, I admire the old-fashioned 2D cartoons from the mid-twentieth century more than the CG animation today, especially because 3D animation is pretty much the only kind for movies these days. This was one of those moments.

The fifties culture was very well emphasized. From the diner moments to the characters’ fashion, it really teaches you about that decade. What I didn’t appreciate, however, was when during the dance scene, all couples had to be boy and girl. I get it. This takes place in the 50’s and was filmed in the 70’s, both of when being gay, lesbian, transgender, or gender-neutral was beyond out-of-the-question. However, watching something like that in a time when homosexuality and chosen gender-identity are trying to be more acceptable (and have made progress during the past few years) can be a bit insensitive. I’m asexual and proud to call myself female both biologically and identity-wise. But I do have full empathy with homosexual people and those who see themselves as different genders than how they were identified at their births.

The ending where Danny and Sandy drive into the sky was quite interesting. Not too long ago, there was a conspiracy theory about Sandy being dead the whole duration of the movie. I don’t know if it’s true, though (I hope not). I do know that there’s a sequel to “Grease”, which I didn’t see.

I approached the movie not knowing the whole plot, even though I saw a live production of “Grease” at a local theater with camp when I was 13. But I don’t remember everything there.

I would rate “Grease” 4 out of 5 stars. Although something about the film didn’t engage me fully, I enjoyed the story and musical numbers as well as the characters.

 

 

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The Analysis of “Narnia” (2005 film) – The Likes, the Comments, and the Questions

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

Based on C.S. Lewis’s novel, the first Narnia movie, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, focuses on four siblings, the Pevensies. There’s Peter the oldest. Then there’s Susan, probably close to Peter’s age. There’s Edmond, who seems drawn to his father that’s fighting in the Second World War. And then there’s Lucy, the youngest and the most naïve. She is that typical little kid who annoys her older siblings.

Now before I express my thoughts, please note that I will not bring up events from the book series or the play adaptations. I have never read the novels nor have I seen the play. I have seen both sequels. The second one was in full, but a long time ago. With the third, I only saw bits of it here and there. So this post is only going to discuss the First Narnia movie from 2005, with possibly a comparison to a sequel here and there.

As bombs drop in London, Mrs. Pevensie lead the children out to the underground area to hide. Then she sends them on a train to the country, where it’s safer (this is actually historically accurate, by the way). The four kids find a stern woman named Mrs. McCreedy, who will watch them while they stay. While playing hide-and-seek, Lucy means to hide in a wardrobe—only that it leads her to a snowy environment. Little does she know that she has entered a magical land not part of regular Earth. She meets Mr. Tumnus the faun and likes him as an individual. Edmond ends up in Narnia and meets the White Witch, who seems sweet at first, but is really trying to hurt him. She wants to gain Edmond’s trust. After a bunch of drama where the older kids wouldn’t believe Lucy, they all go through the wardrobe and discover Narnia once again. Things get intense and problematic from there. That’s when the meat of the story begins.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. I used to watch is as a child when it’d come out on DVD. One funny activity my brothers and I would do was guess the children’s ages. It was cute.

Anyway, I’m getting back on topic. I admired the world building and how it was a good way to help kids escape from the horrors of WWII. It was actually written to keep children relaxed and feel like they are escaping the war.

Of course, no story, either written or on screen, is perfect. For instance, who decided that the Pevensie kids would stay with Mrs. McCreedy? She led them around the house with ground rules and no signs of a positive attitude. She especially snapped when Susan touched a statue (and that I supported because Susan should’ve known better at the age she was). No welcoming attitude with “Make yourself at home. You want some water?”? Obviously, the kids wouldn’t have gotten to pick. If Mrs. Pevensie had chosen, perhaps she should’ve been more careful. If the state equivalent in the UK did, then that was they was it was. On the bright side, the professor was very sweet. When Lucy cried, he offered to make her some hot chocolate.

When Aslan is executed, Lucy and Susan cry like he was a loved one they’ve known forever. Lucy also wept when Mr. Tumnus turned into stone. I get that they cared about these characters. But I did find it a bit odd that two girls would cry over deaths of animals they barely knew, especially if they weren’t their pets. Well, I guess the viewers needed some sadness and sympathy for all those characters.

Narnia’s time is pretty confusing. One year equals, like, a few minutes in the real world. After Lucy leaves Narnia for the first time, she returns back to where the hide-and-seek game started. At the end, when the kids have become adults and rule Narnia, they return to the wardrobe. The reverse back into the ages they were when they first entered. And they didn’t seem to react much. I wonder why it’s like that. Kind of strange, huh?

And the last point will tie into the sequels. In “Prince Caspian”, a year has passed since “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”. Centuries have gone by in Narnia. There are now humans. While there are adults from Narnia who can be there, adults from Earth are too old to be there. That is why Susan and Peter don’t go back to Narnia in the third film. There, it’s Edmond’s and Lucy’s last times, too. But Edmond is probably a few years older than Lucy. So while I’d understand Edmond’s last time, why Lucy? Unless they plan to lower the maximum age for going to Narnia.

Yes, there is a reason why kids can’t go to Narnia once they reach a certain point. The short answer is that they no longer need it. And there’s more to the long answer. But I don’t know it well. You could search for it elsewhere if you’re really desperate to find out.

Nevertheless, Narnia is a fantastic movie. Both as a fantasy and an amazing film. I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Cars 3” On Your Mark… Get Set… Review!

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I saw the first “Cars” movie when it came out in 2006. However, I barely remember that. I didn’t see “Cars 2”.

But when I saw “Cars 3” last year in 2017, I discovered that I liked it. I appreciated how it easily stood on its own and the viewer didn’t have to rely on the previous two films.

Lightning McQueen is preparing for a race. His goal is to beat Jackson Storm. He crashes and ends up in critical condition. He is asked to retire from racing. But he won’t. Lightning gets pared with a trainer named Cruz Ramirez and teaches her some racing skills. He doesn’t want training, though. He yells at Cruz and she gives up on him. Lightning apologizes and things improve from there.

This movie kept my interest all the way through. The cow vehicles were funny. The animation was also done well.

Although Lightning didn’t return to being a racer at the end, I admired how he gave up his role in the race to Cruz. I found that to be very considerate and mature.

Overall, I would rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed watching it. But the “Cars” franchise never excited me too much. Would I recommend this movie, though? Absolutely.

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Why I Prefer the Willy Wonka Remake (2005) More than the Original (1971)

Ever since Tim Burton’s adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” released in 2005, every single person had said that he or she liked the original movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” from 1971 better. Everybody favored the old one—except me. I liked the reboot better.

Now I do respect everyone’s opinions and have to deal with being (so far) the only one who liked the remake better. I love a lot of unpopular movies. So here are the aspects of the reboot that make me enjoy it better than the original.

 

1: Willa Wonka and his sense of humor

Many people would disagree. I didn’t mind Gene Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka. But when I saw how Johnny Depp played him, I admired his sense of humor, even if some of it crept certain people out.

2: The Oompa-Loompas’ songs

Unlike the first adaptation, the Oompa-Loompas sang different songs each time. I liked how each one differed, based on the child’s action, and I thought they sounded more exciting than the original movie’s “Oompa-Loompa Doo-bity Doo”.

3: Veruca was less spoiled—at least she seemed to be

In the 1971 film, she would shout, whine, and want pretty much everything she saw. In the 2005 movie, she seemed to control her emotions better. She seemed calmer, more positive, and overall, less spoiled. Of course, she wasn’t spoil-free. She did have some moments where she demands what she wants (like when she didn’t get the Golden Ticket in the beginning or when she wanted one of Mr. Wonka’s squirrels). Nevertheless, I liked the reboot’s Veruca better than the original’s version.

 

A word of wisdom: No matter how unpopular something is, if you love it, but feel lonely, there’s bound to be someone who enjoys it, too. You may never get to meet him or her. However, know that you’re never alone, regardless of how popular or unfavorable something is. Love how you enjoy it. Don’t worry about what others think of it or you. Accept who you are and what you like.

 

 

 

 

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Alohomora! Review for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

The first installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” film series began in 2016. It’s a spinoff and continuation of the “Harry Potter” universe, but is set 70 years before the “Harry Potter” series is set (1991-1998). The second movie will come out this November 2018. There will be five films.

Anyway, let me get to the review. The story focuses on a wizard named Newt Scamander, who traveled to New York City with a briefcase of magical creatures. He is on his way to Arizona. He meets two witches, Tina and her sister, Queenie. He also meets a no-maj (American term for “muggle”) named Jacob, who has a briefcase of pastries since he wants to open up a bakery. Newt’s nifflers get out of hand and create disasters around the city. Newt gets arrested, befriends Jacob, Tina, and Queenie, and helps a boy named Credence who has issues as an obscurus, which is when a wizard child becomes a cloud-like figure from suppressing his or her sorcery. Things get crazy.

As an American myself, I enjoyed learning about the American wizarding world. We learned about the government, different terms they use compared to British wizards (like no-maj from muggle), their magic school, Ilvermorny, and their history. The characters were amazing and real. Jacob was very likable, particularly.

I will admit that there are some flaws in this film. For example, it’s kind of hard to see how the little girl doing the “My mommy, your mommy…” thing is important, unless it’ll play an essential role later on. And although this is crucial to their world, I found the wizards wiping the no-majs’ memories with the rain to be sad. I especially felt sorry for Jacob as he seemed interested in Queenie and had to forget her.

The action and level on stakes kept me engaged, though. The moment when Newt took Jacob into his briefcase to discover the fantastic creatures was very magical.

I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to what the next “Fantastic Beasts” films have to offer.

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In a Land Far, Far Away… Lived a Review of “Shrek the Third” (2007)

Warning: contains spoilers***

 

I saw the first two “Shrek” movies and liked them. I did not see the fourth one, though. However, when I saw “Shrek the Third”, I loved it. I could watch it over and over again.

The story starts with Prince Charming performing in a dinner theater. He ends up making a fool of himself to the audience. Shrek and Fiona have to do certain tasks until King Harold recovers from his illness. King Harold dies and Shrek does not want to be king. So he seeks out Fiona’s cousin, Arthur, with Donkey and Puss. Meanwhile, Fiona is pregnant and is with Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Doris, and Rapunzel (temporarily) until Shrek is saved in Charming’s play. Charming is still mad about losing to Shrek in the previous story. He goes bad. With the other villains, he attacks Far Far Away. Charming wants to kill Shrek and become the ruler of Far Far Away.

The humor in this movie was done perfectly. I mean that. The jokes, the characters, and their attitudes cracked me up several times. From the moments at Artie’s high school to the baby montage scene (especially when Puss was diapered by mistake and he gave a dirty look), I could laugh several times.

But the best and funniest moment ever, not just in this movie, but in general… was the baby nightmare. Oh… my… god. That scene was so hilarious. I laugh hard for the whole scene from when the second baby is introduced to when Donkey has a baby ogre face and goes in his normal voice, “Da da.”

I would give this movie beyond five out of five stars, despite how it got mixed reviews and a lot of negative reactions. I really admire the use of humor in the characters and the scenes. Bravo, Dreamworks!

 

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Be Our (or My) Guest… for this “Beauty & the Beast” Comparison: 1991 vs. 2017 Adaptations

Warning: contains spoilers***

 

Many of us remember or grew up on the 1991 cartoon of “Beauty and the Beast”. I used to watch it as a small child. I have watched it in recent years, as well.

Of course, I understood the story better more recently than as a little kid. A selfish prince is cursed with becoming a monstrous beast and his servants turning into furniture or props. The enchanted rose loses petals and the beast must love another, and she must love him back by the time the last petal falls. Then the spell will break. A provincial village girl named Belle is seen as strange by her community. Her father goes out on a trip somewhere, but gets lost. Despite the servants’ kindness, the beast imprisons him. Belle finds her father and is willing to take his place. Things move in another direction.

I stopped there because this post is not the synopsis for either adaptation. It is to compare and contrast them.

The 2017 live-action remake featured Emma Watson as Belle, after being known for playing Hermione in the “Harry Potter” movies. Her voice might not match or even sound similar to Paige O’Hara (who voiced Belle in the 1991 cartoon). I also noticed that she couldn’t sustain certain long notes in certain songs as Paige O’Hara did. But I still admired her portrayal of Belle.

The live-action remake also focused on plot holes that didn’t make it into the animated version. For example, there was a lot of emphasis on what happened to Belle’s mother (she died from a disease when Belle was a baby), as well as the Beast’s parents. One plot hole that was mentioned at the beginning explained why no one had wondered what had happened the prince. It was because the curse also wiped the outsider’s memories. While that covered the unanswered question, I felt that the narrator had forced it in instead of it sounding more natural.

Minor parts of the story were changed from the 1991 film, as well as songs. Some songs were added or changed up a bit. One wasn’t sung and that was the song, “Human Again”, when the servants saw the progress Belle and the Beast were making with their romance.

Because I expect differences from originals to remakes, I found both adaptations to be equally good. The cartoon was lighter in mood, compared the live-action reboot. The live-action remake had some changes, but I knew they would. Movie-makers usually don’t like to copy the original sources of either the films they’re remaking or books. They feel that they won’t succeed as much. Of course, many people like the original movies or book sources much better than the reboots or book-to-film adaptations.

Nevertheless, I would rate each version of “Beauty and the Beast” 5 out of 5 stars. I felt that they were too different for me to decide which was better or not as good.

 

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It’s a Whole Review of Superheroes-for “The Incredibles 2” (2018)

Warning: contains spoilers***

 

After fourteen years of little to no hints to a sequel, we finally got it. The same family of superheroes returned to the silver screen. And the beginning picks up from where the first movie ended.

Well, sort of. It starts of with Violet’s crush, Tony. He is being questioned for noticing Violet as a superhero. His memories get wiped.

A few disasters happen. The Parr children are asked to stay behind while the parents fight. The kids don’t listen, though. The disasters destroy the Parrs’ home.

Superheroes are illegal. The Parrs stay in a motel. Helen is offered a chance to make supers legal again. She leaves the family to help make that happen.

Meanwhile, Bob and the children stay in a luxury mansion. Violet deals with romance problems. Dash struggles with math. Bob struggles to watch the kids as they overwhelm him. Jack-Jack reveals that he has more superpowers.

Although the film was very engaging, I will admit that the plot was hard to follow. There were a lot of lights flashing (which can be a bit much for me), action, and fighting.

On the bright note, there were a lot of moments I enjoyed. Jack-Jack seemed to have a lot of screen time and play more of a major role than in the first film from 2004. The moments of how he handled cookies was cute and hilarious.

I was also surprised how Evelyn turned out to be the villain instead of her husband, Winston. I thought it was going to be Winston due to all the hints. But hey, story twists do make the plots less predictable.

I also admired how Bob struggled to look after the kids. The scenes where he helped Dash with his math homework were funny. Dash couldn’t pronounce the word, decimals. The math problems were done pretty well, too.

Overall, I would rate the film 4.5 out of 5 stars. Except for the excessive lights flashing, the movie caught my interest.