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.

movie

Feel “The Jungle Book” Rhythm: The 1967 and 2003 Cartoon Comparisons

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

“The Jungle Book” was the first animated Disney feature since Walt Disney had died a year before in 1966. I did not watch recent live-action remake, so it will not be part of this comparison.

I actually saw the sequel from 2003 first. I didn’t see it in the movie theater, but I did watch it regularly after it came on DVD. The opening starts off with Mowgli using shadow puppets to narrate the story of the first movie. It then starts its own plot. Mowgli is forbidden to go into the jungle because his authority figures consider it dangerous. But Mowgli just misses the jungle. Baloo misses Mowgli and rebels against Bagheera’s demand to not take Mowgli back. After Mowgli is punished for leading the other children from the village to the jungle, Baloo finds him and takes Mowgli back into the jungle. However, Shere Khan is still out to hurt Mowgli.

I haven’t seen “The Jungle Book 2” in years. However, I did see the main feature from 1967. It gave me a better understanding of the sequel. As an infant, Mowgli is raised by wolves. Years later, Bagheera forces him into the village, but Mowgli keeps resisting and wants to stay in the jungle. He meets and befriends Baloo, gets kidnapped by monkeys but trusts them, runs away after Baloo tells him to go to the village, and faces the dangerous Shere Khan.

Now onto my opinions: I found the first film to be less engaging than the sequel. The sequel was more modernized and had a new cast of voices. I also appreciated how Shanti becomes a more major character and is not whiny or too reliable on males. Her name is not said when she is first introduced at the end of the first installment. She also has no speaking lines; just a song and a giggle. Despite how she becomes essential in the second movie, I felt that having her in the first movie was just a quick and cheap way to get Mowgli to go to the village. There were no hints to Shanti, except at the beginning credits with her voice actress’s name. But she was just referred to as “the girl.”

Also, in the main movie, why did Baloo deliberately fake his death, other than for plot convenience? It seems common for there to be sad moments before the happy endings in Disney movies. But rather than having someone save Baloo more believably, he just surprisingly turned out to be alive.

I still enjoyed the first film enough to rate it 4 out of 5 stars. However, I favor the sequel more, even though I haven’t seen it in several years. The film wrapped up more believably and there was no forced content just for plot convenience.

movie

Let the Review Get Written Down… In the Most Honest Way: “Mary Poppins” (1964)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

The live-action Disney classic, “Mary Poppins” is beloved by many. Julie Andrews had an amazing voice. Dick Van Dyke had his sense of humor. The songs were, for the most part, good.

I loved watching “Mary Poppins” as a child. It was one of those Disney films I owned on video cassette as well as “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Cinderella”, and “Aladdin”. And just within the past year, I watched “Mary Poppins” for the first time in several years.

The most recent time I viewed it, though, it didn’t please me as much as before. Although it engaged me, much of the content was just too wacky. For instance, Mary Poppins is first introduced doing her makeup on a cloud. Why a cloud? That doesn’t sound like a very practical way to live. Also, clouds are water vapor, and the air in the sky is thinner. But that is another topic. I am not enunciating on science here.

In the scene where Mary, Bert, Jane, and Michael, are in the animated world, they ride the carousel horses through the fields. Mary had cheated to “win” the race, and still got praised for it. What?

When Mr. Banks went to the bank right before the end, I felt that the change he’d experienced with his children around Mary Poppins was too rushed and forced. And lastly, during the “Spoonful of Sugar” number, the mirror Marry Poppins was just freaky, especially when she started singing on her own.

There are some positive moments. I was amused by the bank scene where Michael screamed, demanding his money back, and the whole bank erupted into chaos. The “Step in Time” number was also amazing.

Overall, though, I would rate “Mary Poppins” 3 stars. Were the books very different? Obviously, they didn’t have musical numbers. But maybe I would like the book more, although I tend to be the opposite with book vs. movie adaptations. That is for another post.

If you enjoyed “Mary Poppins”, good for you. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did. But sometimes, in life, you tend to lose patience for certain things you didn’t mind when you were little. Many of you probably feel that way.

movie

Put Your Thoughts in What You Most Believe in… Review of “Tarzan” (1999)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

This is one of the few 2nd Disney Renaissance films I have watched in the movie theater due to my age now (24). I was five at the time I saw “Tarzan”. I don’t remember my opinion then.

However, I will tell you what I thought when I saw “Tarzan” twice in recent years. Although I liked it more seeing it the second time, this review is going to reflect my opinions on the film the first time I saw it recently.

We all know the story. As a baby, Tarzan gets stranded in the jungle with his parents. His mom and dad build a tree house, but die right after. A female gorilla named Kala, who has just lost her own young, takes Tarzan and raises him. Tarzan grows up wondering why he is different. He tries to fit in. When he reaches adulthood, he discovers humans and can relate to them better. A young woman named Jane falls in love with Tarzan. Tarzan is interested in her, as well. However, his interest to people becomes the feeling of betrayal to his animal pals. Tarzan has to make a tough decision.

While I would give the other Disney movies from the second Renaissance 5 stars, I would only give “Tarzan” 3.5 stars. Something about it wasn’t as engaging as the other Disney films from that era. I don’t know if it was because there isn’t much in the way of singing from the characters, except partly by Kala in the number, “You’ll Be In My Heart”, or some other mysterious element. It just didn’t hold my attention as much as the films from “The Little Mermaid” to “Mulan”.

However, some scenes engaged my emotions. For instance, when Tarzan puts clothes on to join the people, I almost thought he was ditching his animal friends, but also making the right choice. I also found Kerchak to be too unlikable until he died. He was too dark as an adoptive gorilla father. I understand that that’s an important element to the story and his character. But I feel like a gentle mother and rough father is too cliched, even back in 1999.

One the bright note, I admired the ending where Professor Porter and Jane join Tarzan in the jungle. That twist surprised and amazed me. Another positive aspect was when Tantor thought Tarzan was a piranha, and his mother had to keep reminding him, “There are no piranhas in Africa.” I just found that humorous.

Would I recommend “Tarzan”? Despite finding it just okay, the answer is still yes. The songs sung by the music crew were still fantastic. The characters were still well-developed. And the story still held up enough emotion and conflict.