movie

I Will Analyze… I Can Go the Distance with Disney’s “Hercules” (1997)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

Seeing “Hercules” in the movie theater is one of my very earliest (and very faint) memories. I was 3 years old at the time. Then I saw it in 4th grade, during an indoor recess. I watched it again more recently—in March of this year.

In Ancient Greece, the muses start with an opening song. Then it goes to Mount Olympus, where Zeus, Hera, and the other gods are adoring the infant, Hercules. Hades, the god of the underworld, has a plan to harm Hercules. His assistants, Pain and Panic, kidnap Baby Hercules from Mount Olympus and feed him a potion that makes him mortal. They stop when a couple finds Hercules. There is one remaining drop. And Hercules still has his strength. However, since he has become mortal, he cannot return to Mount Olympus. The human couple takes Hercules and raises him.

Years have gone by and Hercules is now a young man going with his adoptive parents to Athens. He accidentally destroys the architecture with his involuntary strength. Hercules feels that something about him is unusual. His adoptive parents reveal to him that he was found and they still have the metal he wore when they found him. The metal has the symbol of the gods. Hercules goes to the temple of Zeus. In order to return to Mount Olympus as a god, Hercules has to prove himself a true hero. He gets help from the faun, Phil, but also falls in love with a young woman named Megara (Meg). Hercules struggles but pushes himself.

I found Hercules’s struggles to make him very believable. The way he acted toward people was done well. The midpoint, where Hercules becomes super famous and popular was great, even if it didn’t satisfy the Zeus statue.

The humor was not slapstick, but used appropriately, such as when Pain and Panic had those sandals with Hercules on them. Hades got mad and Pain and Panic defended themselves with the excuse of the Hercules being a different entity than the one they knew. There were also a lot of 90’s references, such as Air Hercs (like Air-Jordans), Grecian Express, and more. I grew up in the 2000’s, but I still got the references.

The plot points were also done well, especially the deal Hercules made with Hades. It went back and forth. Hercules lost his strength, gained it back, and acknowledged the deal again.

With Meg, I felt her role was only there for romantic element convenience, because hey— shouldn’t Disney movies with protagonists in their teens or over have romance. Not necessarily! I don’t know about the 90’s, but if you’ve seen 2016’s “Moana” or 2012’s “Brave”, neither main characters fell in love. And they were females.

Anyway, back to this film. Although Meg was just okay, I did appreciate how Hercules gave up his return to Mount Olympus at the end to rejoin Meg. I thought that was so sweet. This is one of those movies where the main character does not achieve his or her goal. Yet, the ending is still satisfying. Which leaves me wondering… what if Hercules never met Meg? Hmmm…

Anyhow, the movie is still a 5-star film for me. It isn’t one of the top Disney classics for me. But I still really enjoyed it.

 

movie

What Review is This? It’s “The Aristocats” (1970)

It’s 1910 in Paris. A retired opera singer named Madame Adelaide Bonfamille and her butler, Edgar, return home. Duchess the mother cat, and her three children, Berlioz, Marie, and Toulouse play around. Meanwhile, Edgar brews some milk to put the cats to sleep. The cats drink the milk and get taken away in a basket. The four cats end up frightened until they meet the alley cat, Thomas O’Malley. From there, they journey back to Paris.

This movie was amazing with its characters (with the exception of a few stereotypes), retro 2D animation style, French culture, and music. My favorite song from this film is “Everybody Wants to be a Cat”.

Duchess was very motherly and gentle with the kittens. Marie was a bit of a snob. And should she really have made goo-goo eyes at Thomas O’Malley? Speaking of which, Thomas O’Malley was voiced by the same actor who played Baloo in 1967’s “The Jungle Book”.

The hounds were great, too. I loved how the lead dog, Napoleon, claimed that he was the leader. Abigail and Amelia, the British geese, were hilarious. Uncle Waldo was okay, although he was not very developed except for his drunk-like attitude. I don’t think Disney or any movie geared toward families and children would get away with that today.

The songs were good, although there were only a few. While the movie was a good watch, to be honest, it wasn’t super-engaging. I don’t know why.

Nevertheless, I would rate “The Aristocats” 4.5 out of 5 stars. I would gladly recommend it today. It didn’t do as poorly as some Disney films (i.e. “The Black Cauldron”), but I was surprised to hear how many people don’t pay as much attention to “The Aristocats” as to “Aladdin” and “The Lion King”. However, the movie did do pretty well when it came out.

TV show

This is the Suite Analysis of Zac and Cody

Two twin boys named Zac and Cody live in a hotel with their single (or widowed or divorced) mom. They do fun things together, along with two older girls named London, who is wealthy, and Maddie, who is smart. They make viewers laugh (and maybe cry) throughout their humor, actions, and more.

I used to watch this show on Disney Channel in 8th grade. I enjoyed it very much. There were a lot of funny moments, such as London learned how to swim and almost kissed her love interest, but accidentally kissed a duck float.

The episode where Zac and Cody cut school and went to the mall because they missed the bus was very clever. They did as much as possible to avoid getting into trouble. But their mom eventually caught them and punished them with losing all their privileges. I especially found it amusing when she punished Cody (I don’t think applied to Zac) with no reading for fun. For the record, reading for fun is actually good for your brain. Studies even show that kids who read for fun perform better in school. But that’s a different topic.

There was also an episode where London wrote a picture and read it to a group of little kids. But then she got in trouble for copyright infringement. Law officials even showed up and the children gave up with London. Imagine if this happened to you (and no, it would not be good at all)?

When Zac and Cody started high school, they rehearsed for “High School Musical” and London received the part of Sharpay. The characters wanted Maddie to play her, but she was too kind. I read somewhere that casters thought Ashley Tisdale was too nice to play Sharpay in the actual “High School Musical” movie. What was really clever and silly was when one of the twins (I can’t remember if it was Zac or Cody) was told he looked like Zac Efron, who played Troy in HSM. Then Maddie said, “And I don’t look like Ashley Tisdale?” Lol, Ashley Tisdale played Maddie.

And one major character I would like to mention now is Mr. Moseby. He was great with everyone. He even went onto the sequel “The Suite Life on Deck” with Zac, Cody, London, and a new character, Bailey. Why didn’t Maddie go? I don’t know. I’ve assumed that she couldn’t afford it. But I didn’t watch a lot of “The Suite Life on Deck”.

The show, “The Suite Life of Zac and Cody” no longer airs. I’m not sure if the Sprouse brothers (who played Zac and Cody) still act now. However, I admired their performances as well as the other actors.

movie

“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.

TV show

I’ll Analyze, Cause “Phineas and Ferb” Is Gonna Do it All

Airing from 2007 to 2015, Disney Channel’s “Phineas and Ferb” has had a lot of fantastic moments. I discovered it when my brother used to watch it as a young child (he’s 18 now). I also enjoyed the show.

The cartoon focuses on two little boys, who are stepbrothers, and how they express their creativity and fun. They have an older sister named Candace. Candace is pretty aware of all the activities Phineas and Ferb do. Sometimes, Phineas and Ferb get their friends, Isabella and Baljeet, involved. Their platypus, Perry, also is an agent against his arch-enemy Dr. Doofenshmirtz. I loved when Dr. Doofenshmirtz shouts, “Curse you, Perry the Platypus!”

I enjoyed when Candace and Perry switched places and Candace had literally become a talking-platypus. The rollercoaster episode was also cool. Phineas, Ferb, and their friends rode a rollercoaster in the sky. Candace pointed it out, but the mom wouldn’t believe her.

Later on, there was an episode where Candace caught them and the mom’s reaction was quite realistic. She called the police and the boys were taken to an institution that forbid creativity and where they were trained to stop creating. It turned out to be Candace’s dream. I adored Phineas’s reaction of that. He came up with an invention idea to make people’s dreams into movies.

Another funny moment was when Phineas and Ferb searched for a mummy, and Candace had bandages all over. The boys thought she was the mummy.

And the moment I found to be the most humorous was when a robot man claiming he is a platypus’s predator received a bullhead. He became a minotaur in a suit. Oh my god… that was so clever and hilarious. It’s not everyday you see minotaurs or other mythological creatures in modern-day attire.

“Phineas and Ferb” had such an amazing concept and even theme song. I liked how the opening theme ended when Candace went, “Mom, Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence!” Ha ha—the usual annoyed older sister never gets boring. Neither do the main little boys, Phineas and Ferb.

 

 

TV show

Kim Possible: “Call Me, Beep Me, and Analyze Me”

“So not the drama,” says Kim Possible… a lot.

And I agree. This show on Disney Channel was one of my favorites as a child—well, only when I was in fifth grade. I heard about it from a girl at camp the summer before. I checked it out and loved it.

Kim was a great character. She served as a secret agent while balancing her normal teenage life. I also found her wardrobe interesting. She often wore tops that no real school would allow. Well, it’s a cartoon.

Anyway, the other characters were memorable, as well. There was Ron Stoppable. I liked when he was the Middleton Mad dog in one episode. I also appreciated how he was (for the most part) just friends with Kim. You don’t often see girls being just friends with guys on TV or in movies, except if the boy is the main character (i.e. Danny Phantom). Ron may have become Kim’s love interest later, though. I’m not sure, entirely.

And I was surprised to discover that Wade is only 10 years old in the show. What? I always thought he was Kim’s age, maybe a year or two younger. But dang—he looks really old for a ten-year-old. He’s also very mature for that age.

Rufus the naked mole-rat was probably the most memorable of the series. He showed humor, a little speech (like when he got excited over banana cream), and had his own rap song, with his owner, Ron. So cute.

Kim’s family doesn’t often get as much screen time as Kim, Ron, Rufus, and Wade. But whatever. I do admire how Kim’s mom looks like an older version of Kim and her dad resembles Kim’s brothers, Jim and Tim.

Draken and Shego were great characters, too. I love when Draken fell in love with that woman, Amy in one episode. Shego even acted immaturely and teased him. Perhaps, this was my favorite episode.

The “Kim Possible” theme song has a great, upbeat tune. It’s perfect for the show’s premise.

Aside from the absence of a believable dress code (but, once again, it’s a cartoon), the high school Kim attends holds a lot of events real kids can relate to. There was a science fair, cheerleading, some drama, mean girls (Bonnie—I’m talking to you), and more.

The show no longer airs on Disney Channel. But the series was fantastic. I will admit that never got to the prom special. But I enjoyed a chunk of the episodes.

 

 

movie

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.

 

movie

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.

 

 

movie

Character Critiques… True as They Can be… Beauty and the Beast-1991

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

The animated version of “Beauty and the Beast” remains one of my favorite Disney movies. I liked the live-action remake equally to the cartoon.

However, this post will only critique the characters in the 1991 cartoon. I will discuss all the major and minor characters (including the 3 silly girls in love with Gaston).

1: The Beast:

We all know how and why he became a beast and what he had to do to turn back into a human. His struggle to show kindness communicated well. He had trouble smiling and showing manners. He needed assistance from his servants.

When he grew and changed into a kinder entity, though, there was not much that either hinted at his change or did it gradually. It was a little too abrupt or sudden for plot convenience. The only hint is when he saved Belle after she ran away. However, I did like the beast more after he changed into a nicer character.

HIs anxiety right before the “Beauty and the Beast” song number felt real. I could easily relate to that since I often have to deal with anxiety.

2: Belle:

The provincial village girl who loves to read and is often misunderstood by her community was also well-developed. She was naïve and a little whiny at times, but also strong and brave. She refused to marry Gaston and longed for freedom and adventure. Her relationship to her horse, Philippe was adorable. She and her father’s bond also did well. And her attempt to love the beast was brilliant.

There is a conspiracy theory about Belle having Stockholm Syndrome, but I’m not sure if it’s true. Belle was a likable character.

When she entered the west wing, despite the Beast’s order to never go there, I appreciated how she resisted with Lumiere and Cogsworth, and checked out the area. I felt when she discovered the prince’s portrait before he’d turned into a beast, I felt that it was an important plot element. Had she gone there, would the ending have differed and would she have been confused?

3: Gaston:

The handsome man who wanted to marry Belle was also the main antagonist. Like the other villagers, he considered Belle’s father crazy and wouldn’t believe him about the beast until Belle revealed him to them. His sense of humor and sin was well balanced.

4: Lefou:

He was Gaston’s sidekick. He was silly, but also sinful. He tried to keep Gaston in a good mood. His character design was humorous and appropriate for his personality. Although when Gaston died, we never know what happened to Lefou after.

5: Maurice:

As the father of Belle, and un-liked by the village, Maurice is a great inventor. He also shows love and concern for his daughter. His fear at times was done well. I liked how he got excited over the props in the Beast’s castle (and didn’t know that they were once people). The moment he played with Cogsworth and called him an invention was hilarious.

Because he was unpopular, I often felt sorry for him. However, he was also a likable character.

6: Lumiere:

The kind servant who was turned into a candlestick was willing to take Maurice in, despite the Beast’s rules at the time. He was willing to give Belle dinner and the song, “Be Our Guest” was great.

I will say when he first greeted Belle, he went a little to far with the kissing. When he was mad that the beast let Belle go, his assumption that maybe it would’ve been better if Belle never came at all made him believable. Although, he seemed to have trouble remembering her name. Right before the “Beauty and the Beast” song number, he still called her, “the girl” instead of her name, “Belle”. Does Lumiere struggle to remember names of new people?

7: Cogsworth:

The clock servant had little sympathy when the beast was still nasty to outsiders. He disapproved of Maurice staying inside the castle because he was worried that the beast would find out, and then he did. When the beast changed into becoming nicer, so did Cogsworth.

8: Mrs. Potts:

One of the few female characters in this movie was turned into a tea-pot. She was kind like Lumiere. When she offered tea to Belle, that was sweet. The way she raised Chip was also great.

9: Chip:

He was Mrs. Potts’s son. He was so cute with Belle and was very brave. When he laughed at the beast’s bad eating manners, and Mrs. Potts gave him a dirty look, I must admit that I agreed with Chip. I appreciated how he helped Belle and Maurice escape from being sent to the asylum.

10: The 3 silly girls:

The blonde triplets who were in love with Gaston were funny. However, someone in a YouTube video pointed out that they didn’t do much to enhance the story. I couldn’t help but agree with them. However, their actions still amused me.

 

Do you want to mention anything you like about these characters?

movie

Oh Monster’s University, My Critique Sings for Thee

Warning: Contains spoilers***

I saw the first “Monster’s Inc.” film in the movie theatre when it first came out in 2001. I was 20 days away from turning 8. I liked it then.

And then came the prequel, “Monster’s University” in 2013. With a better understanding of films and storytelling, I comprehended the story and elements. I have studied writing and storytelling, so I have viewed the movie from a writer’s POV. I identified the plot points, characterizations, conflict, twists, and more.

Here are the elements I thought were done well:

1: The Plot Twists

Mike was desperate become a scarer. He wrote out a plan for the rest of his college career and when he made it to the real world. Regardless of what others told him, Mike was still determined to convince others that he could scare easily. When he was kicked out of the scaring program in the middle of the film, he still wouldn’t give up. After so much hard work, Mike “won” the final competition. Sully had cheated to make Mike win. Disgusted, Mike broke into the door lab and actually tried to scare, only to discover that everyone was right all along. He couldn’t scare a single child. Sully finds him, and the two return to the monster world. They get expelled, but find work in the mailing room of Monster’s Incorporated.

I appreciated how the story was not too predictable. When Mike thought he’d won the final scaring part, I was surprised to find out that he didn’t. More twists and turns occurred, and although Mike didn’t achieve his goal, the ending was still satisfying.

2: The characters’ origins before “Monster’s Inc.”

Mike dreamed of becoming a scarer. Sully bragged about being the son of a famous scarer. Randall was Mike’s first roommate and wanted to fit in with the cool kids. Their motivations evolved what they eventually became when the events of “Monster’s Inc.” began.

I knew beforehand that Mike and Sully started out as foes. I didn’t expect Randall (or Randy, as he preferred to be called) to start out as Mike’s roommate and be friendly. I felt the biggest moment for setting up the characterizations in “Monster’s Inc.” was when Mike tried to sign up for the scare games. Randy turning down Mike’s scare team hinted at how he was going to go bad. Sully offering to join, even though Mike didn’t want him, gave a clue that the two would form friendships after being enemies. These things all matter.

3: Every line of dialogue was super-important to the story

This may sound obvious to some, but every line of dialogue in any form of written or visual media needs significance to the plot. Each line represented the characters’ motivations and moved the story forward very well. I find this has done better than in some other movies.

Now onto what I didn’t exactly agree with:

1: Monsters being discriminated for not looking frightening

Although this is crucial to the plot, I found to be the equivalent to human racism. Mike was kicked out of the scaring program just because he wasn’t scary. That was discriminatory.

In fact, I am pretty sure that in real life, Mike would actually be a little scary. I don’t know about most people, but if I saw something that looked like him walking around, I would certainly freak out, because I wouldn’t expect something like him to exist.

Of course, it is not okay to fear people because of their looks. But that is my one criticism of “Monster’s University”.

I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. It is one of those movies I can easily watch over and over again.