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You Ain’t Never Read a Critique Like This…For Disney’s “Aladdin” Live-Action Remake (2019)

This year is a huge year for Disney, especially with live-action remakes. I went with some friends to see the live-action remake of “Aladdin”. I liked it.

From the trailer, I could easily see that it was going to differ a lot from the cartoon. Unlike my other movie critiques, this will not have spoilers that occur toward the end of the film. However, there will be some minor revelations. So, if you don’t want to know, I’d suggest you see the movie first. But if you do, or you already saw the film, proceed.

Anyway, let me start off with the strengths.

1: Giving Princess Jasmine a girl BFF

Unlike other Disney princesses, Jasmine has no female companions in the animated version of “Aladdin” (as well as doesn’t have the lead role). I noticed that in recent years and thought about how it would’ve been nice if she had a female companion, like a girl BFF. Coincidentally, it happened. Not long after I realized that Jasmine only had males in her life did I come across an article that announced that she would have a female friend in the 2019 reboot. Yay! More female presence—not counting the extras.

2: The song “Speechless”

This was added in the live-action reboot. It was given to Jasmine and as a single solo. It added character development and more backstory to Jasmine.

3: Will Smith’s portrayal of the genie

While no one will truly beat Robin Williams’ portrayal of the “Aladdin” cartoon in 1992, Will Smith still did a good job. He still executed jokes and humor successfully. I especially admired a realistic approach of the genie’s look and why (I won’t say—see the movie to find out).

Now here are the aspects that could’ve been better.

1: The characterization of Iago and the sultan

Okay, I get it. The creators didn’t want it to be a copy of the cartoon. They also had to make changes for new characters, like Jasmine’s friend, Dahlia. However, I was quite bummed with the sultan and Iago’s developments.

The sultan was dull, conservative, and had little screen time, compared to the cartoon. He was also not nearly as enthusiastic and positive. And he didn’t play with toys. Bummer! I understand that the younger characters need to make their own choices, but cartoon sultan is far better.

And Iago. Oh my God—he was so one-dimensional. He flew around to check on things for Jafar, would repeat phrases, and would state when someone was doing something wrong, such as lying or hiding something. Where was his personality? His complexity? I comprehend how the crew couldn’t re-cast the original cast to reprise their roles. But I still wish Iago was more developed. Like cartoon sultan, animated Iago is far superior.

2: The romance between Aladdin and Jasmine was weaker

In the cartoon version, Aladdin and Jasmine fell in love and stayed that way. However, in the live-action remake, Aladdin has trouble getting Jasmine to love or even trust him. Remember when Jasmine tried to free Aladdin from the guards and revealed her true identity for it in the animated version? That didn’t happen in the live-action remake. Also, while some musical numbers were a bit stronger than in the cartoon, the scene with the song, “A Whole New World” did not convey nearly enough emotion for the audience as in the cartoon.

That being said, I would rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars. While I liked certain versions of story adaptations equally as much (such as the cartoon and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movies), this one was almost as good as the cartoon. My main issue was the characterization of Iago and the sultan. I know they aren’t major characters. But still—even if they were just a little different from the animated movie, I would have appreciated that.

Nevertheless, I would still recommend this movie.

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My Top 3 “Robot Chicken” Clips

Unlike most people, I’ve always found the idea of clean entertainment being dirty to be funny (no offense). Of course, as long as children aren’t exposed to it, it’s no problem for me.

That is why I like “Robot Chicken”, which is a stop-motion animated program on Adult Swim where they make clips of different already-existing movies and TV shows and make their own little stories. And yes, a lot of the entertainment used was originally clean, such as “Peanuts”, “Scooby Doo”, “Disney”, and much more.

And now, without further ado, here are my top 3 favorite clips from “Robot Chicken”

3: The “Muppet Babies” clip called “Kermit Kong” (I think)

Kermit is acting like King Kong while holding onto Miss Piggy. Gonzo and a few others are on planes. They squirt water onto Kermit and he falls onto the ground.

The scene reverses back to Nanny’s home, where the Muppet babies were just playing make-believe. Kermit has died, and Miss Piggy tries to get his attention. Nanny comes and has everyone clean up the crime scene. Miss Piggy is still sad, but Nanny says, “He never loved you.” Then she forces Miss Piggy to move along.

This clip is a bit milder than other “Robot Chicken” clips. It’s also clever and engaging. I admire the part when Miss Piggy refers to a tall stack of chairs as “The Empire State Building”.

2: The “Beavis and Butthead and Teen Titans” Crossover Clip

Another thing that differentiates me from others is that I’ve always liked the idea of clean and mature entertainment crossing over. So, I was excited to discover the “Teen Titans meeting Beavis and Butthead” video.

Robin needs Beavis and Butthead to complete some important tasks. Of course, Beavis and Butthead behave like their usual uncivilized selves. Danger comes. While the Teen Titans are fighting a monster, Beavis and Butthead are eating nachos. Then Robin is hurt.

I loved when Beavis and Butthead sang a “Batman” parody tune to Robin. That was clever. The whole clip was amazing. Robin, however, said, “Yeah” instead of “Thank you” when Butthead complimented on his belt. Does Robin have manners? Who knows?

1: The “Lord of the Rings” clip written by J.R.R Tolkien JR JR

A man is introducing a new LOTR story written by the author’s 6-year-old grandson, J.R.R Tolkien JR JR. Then a sneak peak shows up. It shows Merry and Pippin having a conversation. Then Gandolf comes and warns them of danger in a silly way. Everyone flies on planes (Obviously, out-of-premise for the LOTR universe) and tries to defeat a three-headed peanut-butter-and-jelly monster.

This was, perhaps, the funniest “Robot Chicken” clip ever created. From including Hannah Montana, the PB & J monster, and to the breakout of singing “The Muffin Man Song”, this made me laugh my brains out. Bravo!

So, there you have it. I haven’t watched “Robot Chicken” in a while. But I hope to return to it soon.

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It’s the Best Day Ever for My “Spongebob Squarepants” Analysis

In honor of the 20th anniversary, as well as give a tribute to the latest creator, Stephen Hillenburg (R.I.P), I am going to analyze “Spongebob Squarepants” and my opinions on it. This post will include moments from the TV show and the 2004 movie.

We all know the premise. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? You know the answer. You should probably know all the main characters too.

Remember that theory where they all represented the 7 deadly sins? It was more creative and interesting than other conspiracy theories, where the premise is just a dream or imagination. However, that theory has been debunked. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it.

The characters are great. Spongebob is funny, entertaining, and silly, as well as very immature for his age. Speaking of which, his age is inconsistent. His boating license says that he was born in 1986, which would have made him 13 when the show was released and about 33 today (I believe the license said his birthday was in July). The 2004 movie hinted that he has been working at the Krusty Krab for over 31 years. But the creators said that Spongebob has no age. He is just silly. Confusing, huh?

Another detail I noticed, especially in the earliest episodes, is that when Spongebob sings, his voice sounds totally different. This happened in the “Ripped Pants”, “Sweet Victory”, and “Pizza Delivery” songs. Why is that? In later songs, such as those from the 2004 film, the “F.U.N.” song, and the “Campfire Song” song, Spongebob’s voice sounds exactly like his normal speaking voice. It doesn’t seem like this has ever been explained.

Now onto the other characters. Patrick is just as immature and silly as Spongebob. No wonder they’re close friends. But why is Squidward called Squidward if he is an octopus? Although he’s anything but easygoing, he is still likable. The moments when he and Spongebob fight are hilarious. And Sandy? A squirrel who lives underwater in an air dome, yet misses Texas? She sang about missing Texas in one episode. And like Spongebob, her voice changed too. Although this was obnoxious, it was also funny when Spongebob and Patrick distorted their bodies and went, “I’m Texas”. Lol.

Mr. Krabs is great too and greedy for money. He also has a daughter named Pearl, who is a whale. Like others, I assume that she must’ve been adopted.

Anyway, another memorable character is Plankton (as well as his computer wife, Karen). Plankton—that little creature who is evil and wants to steal the secret formula to the crabby patties, (which, by the way, might be vegetarian). I love the episode where Plankton decides to turn Mr. Krabs into a baby to steal the formula. It was so clever. The ending to that episode was very, very funny. I laughed so hard that my mom told me to take deep breaths.

Unlike most people, I didn’t mind the post-2004 episodes. The old ones are good. And I get why many hated the episodes after that. They had new writers. However, I liked “Spongebob” for about a year or two and then lost interest for years. So when I reunited with it, I didn’t see any differences to the old episodes. I thought those episodes were completely fine.

That being said, there are old episode moments I like. “Is mayonnaise an instrument?” Ha, ha, ha. That line never gets tiring. The “Employee of the Month” award episode was super-humorous, as well.

Now one plot hole I noticed is that outside the ocean is real life, not a cartoon. Yes, in that dream episode, Sandy had a dream where the land was cartoon. But, hey, that was just a dream. So what happens if a scuba diver goes underwater? Do they freak out about becoming a cartoon? Would they reveal this to everyone on the land?

I believe the characters can understand and communicate with humans, like when David Hasselhoff brought Spongebob and Patrick back to Bikini Bottom in “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”. There is a sequel where the characters become CGI’s and are on the land with people. I don’t know the plot. But from the trailer, the humans seem to casually accept them and not freak out. I could be wrong, though. Also, why is there an additional ocean under the water? Humor, I guess?

So that’s really it for my analysis. I don’t know how the show will perform after Stephen Hillenburg’s death. Hopefully, things stay well. I don’t watch “Spongebob Squarepants” regularly anymore. But I still have enjoyed many moments.

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Imagine the Impossible… Review of “Mary Poppins Returns” (2018)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Many years have passed since Mary Poppins has left the Banks family. Michael and Jane are now adults. Michael is widowed and has three children: John, Annabel, and Georgie. Jane hangs out in the house too.

Michael is at risk of losing his house. While his kids are in the park, Mary Poppins flies down to them. She often denies anything magical, as usual. Nevertheless, she takes them on adventures, such as making the bath like an ocean, or going inside the children’s latest mother’s bowl to a musical hall performance.

Meanwhile, the bank is giving Michael a hard time about his home. His kids are just as worried. If not, more.

I saw this film in the theaters, and after seeing it a second time, I picked up some new elements. For instance, the format of this movie is very similar to that of the first “Mary Poppins” movie in 1964. The scenes are similar to those in the first installment, as well.

I was surprised how Jack was similar to Burt. Not just by his personality, but also having those other guys in the “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”, similar to the “Step in Time” number.

The music was amazing. It followed the same mood and tone, but more modernized. I still didn’t understand why the admiral had to fire the cannon every hour. What’s the purpose of that?

One scene that stood out to me was the balloon scene. Yes, it’s a movie, and it’s supposed to communicate a message about youth as well as be satisfying to audiences. But it was strange for me—the idea of holding a balloon in the sky and seeing it as a magical moment. In real life, if just one person held onto a balloon that took them up to the sky, he or she would scream, and so would everybody on the ground. It would be a scary, panicking disaster. The emergency departments would be there too.

Another moment that was silly, even if essential to the plot, was the scene where Jack and his buddies try to turn back time on the Big Ben. No one would fall for that in real life, not to mention that Jack and his pals would’ve been arrested too.

Nevertheless, this was a good movie. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

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Satisfying vs. Unsatisfying Movie Endings

Warning: contains spoilers for the following films***

Avengers: Infinity War

Into the Woods

The Little Mermaid (both original tale and Disney movie)

Tarzan (both original tale and 1999 Disney movie)

When people watch a movie, they not only expect a good story, but also a lot of conflict. Because every fictional work, visual or written, needs problems and obstacles, many audiences expect satisfying endings, where the protagonists achieve their goals. If they don’t, then it’s either because they realized those goals weren’t what they wanted all along or they weren’t the right kinds.

Rarely these days are film endings unsatisfying. One example includes “Avengers: Infinity War”, where the characters dissolve into dust. But there is a part two now. I don’t know how it ends and I won’t look it up now. Anyway, the other example of a movie with an unsatisfactory ending is “Into the Woods”. The baker’s wife dies and so does the witch after her curse was undone. I understand that the point is that there is no such thing as “happily ever after”. But it was still unsatisfying, especially coming from Disney. Disney is known to sugarcoat their film endings.

Like in “The Little Mermaid”, where Ariel marries Prince Eric as a human. In the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen, she dies at the end and the prince gets another bride. I read that the creators of the Disney version found that sad. They felt that in order to make their adaptation more kid/family-friendly, the ending needed to be happier.

Another example, although probably not as sad (I could be wrong, though), is Disney’s “Tarzan”. While Jane and Professor Porter join Tarzan in the jungle, in the original novel, Tarzan is brought back to civilization.

Audience and genres also contribute to how the films should end. Horror films often end a certain way. The ones I saw didn’t have very satisfying endings. But there likely is a purpose for that. Horror movies are not intended for families or children. Kid-friendly films have different standards from mature movies, besides cleanliness. Also, many young people yearn for happy endings. So do older crowds.

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Here They Come Just in Time: “The PowerPuff Girls” Top 3 Memorable Episodes

This show was my biggest favorite when I was 7. There’s a reboot now, but I like the old series better.

I have not seen much of the series in years, except for the Christmas special. But that’s another post, plus it’s off-season.

Anyway, these are the top 3 memorable episodes of “The PowerPuff Girls”. This does not include the reboot. I have not watched that, nor do I want to.

Note, these are not necessarily my favorite episodes—just ones that stand out to me.

3: The episode where Blossom has ice powers

Poor Blossom gets scolded for her ice breath, despite the boiling sun. Bubbles and Buttercup dislike her ice powers. Blossom has to promise not to use it, except when necessary. Even at school, when Ms. Keane demands everybody goes outside, Blossom has to resist the urge to use her ice breath.

Although Blossom is very bright, I felt sorry for her when her sisters put her down for her ice powers (I believe Buttercup called Blossom “Ice Princess” as an insult). This is, I think, the only episode where Blossom has ice breath.

2: The episode with Cooties

A girl in the PPG’s class panics when a boy has saliva all over his mouth and tries to kiss her. Even the PowerPuff Girls have nightmares about that kid giving them cooties. In the dream, several little clones of that child pop out of their skin.

As a little kid, it meant nothing to me. But now, as an adult, I find this offensive. I don’t think I’d voluntarily watch that episode now.

1: The episode where Bubbles keeps animals in the house

This I remember better than the others I listed. Bubbles has animals inside the house. The professor states that the animals need to be free and not locked up inside a closet. Later Bubbles has a whale because it won’t fit in a closet. But the whale gets dried up and even makes a noise. Bubbles, as her not-very-wise self, just gives it a glass of water. Of course, that’s not enough. At some point, Bubbles learns the lesson and frees the animals from the Townsville Zoo (and doesn’t get arrested).

I adored Bubbles’ little rhyme, “They’re Mr. and Mrs. Squeakers, inside your sneakers” to the professor. I think I’d like this episode now.

While I said these are the top 3 memorable episodes, I do have a bonus.

Drumroll…

Bonus: The birthday party episode

It’s the PPG’s birthday and many Townsville residents are invited. The girls are desperate to open their presents. They even use X-ray vision to see inside their gifts. However, the professor stops them and says that they can open their presents after cake.

The PowerPuff Girls are so rushed that Bubbles won’t let the guests sing “Happy Birthday”. The professor gives them the cake, which they blow away. Regardless of his request to eat the cake before they can open their presents, the professor seems to give his daughters a free pass to open their gifts. However, a few presents come from the villains and endanger the girls. I do admire the dolls that resembled the girls, though, and Princess Morbucks telling one of the other bad guys, “You gave them dolls?”

Well, that’s it. Do you have any memorable moments of “The PowerPuff Girls” you want to share?

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Disney Princess Types That Have Not Happened So Far

We all know the official Disney princesses as of now. Some of us may know about the forgotten Disney princesses. But that’s another post.

Anyway, have you noticed these details that have never happened to Disney princesses, both the official and forgotten ones? Read below:

1: A princess who wears glasses

Not one Disney princess wears glasses. In fact, not long after I noticed that, a little girl who wears glasses wrote to Disney and stated that it would be nice to have a Disney princess who wears glasses. Hey, glasses are NOT nerdy at all.

2: A princess with braces

Like glasses, braces are not geeky, either. Yes, many princess movies are set in historical time periods. But, hey, unchronological stuff happens in Disney movies all the time (like several times in “Aladdin”, especially with the genie). A princess with braces would be nice.

3: A transgender princess

In a time of people starting to accept sexual orientations and gender identities, it would be appropriate to have a transgender princess. There’s already been pressure toward Disney to give Elsa a girlfriend. While there haven’t been any hints to Elsa having a female lover on the “Frozen 2” trailer, it would be great if there were a lesbian or transgender princess.

4: A disabled princess

There was a petition for a Disney princess with Downs Syndrome. But not one princess has been blind, deaf, physically handicapped, or anything else. Well, Ariel becomes mute for a good chunk of “The Little Mermaid”. But her voice was physically removed.

5: A tomboyish princess passionate about science

Okay, I know. Science barely plays roles in Disney films. Probably because magic is more dominant. However, I think this would be hard to market to little girls. So if a tomboyish science-obsessive princess ever happens, she’d likely end up a forgotten Disney princess.

6: A princess too old to be official

I was surprised when I first discovered that Elsa is supposed to be 21 in the main events of “Frozen” (the first one in 2013). That makes her the oldest official Disney princess in age and the only one not a teenager. Some of the forgotten Disney princesses might be older than teens too (Wikipedia said that Megara from “Hercules” was 20) and some are definitely younger, like Vanellope from “Wreck-it-Ralph”. In fact, part of the reason Vanellope is not official is because she was considered too young. However, no princess has been deemed too old. Disney rarely made human protagonists older than teens before the turn of the century. But even now, a 30-year-old princess would likely be too old to appeal to young girls.

Well, that’s all. Have you noticed any missing details among the Disney princesses?

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The Scarcity of Stop-Motion Movies

Image from Pixabay

There are three types of animation: hand-drawn or 2D, CG, and stop-motion. Stop-motion is when an object is moved very slightly and then photographed. Several photos are done until each object moves believably.

Usually, stop-motion animation is done with puppets. Examples include those Christmas specials like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. Then there are more recent examples, like “Paranorman” and “Box-Trolls”. There is also another kind called Claymation, where the animators use clay models instead of puppets. A couple examples include “Wallace and Gromit” and “Early Man”.

While stop-motion films look fantastic, I notice there are not too many. Why is that, you may wonder? I think it’s because they are extremely time-consuming.

Before CGI was invented, most animated movies were 2D and drawn with pencil and paper. There were some stop-motion films, like “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Then, after the turn of the century, when 2D animated films were dying out, and CG animation was booming, the number of stop-motion movies have pretty much remained the same.

Stop-motion animation may involve lots of skills, patience, and time, but I don’t know if they will increase the number of films, or decrease them.

Yes, there have been advancements, like the use of special effects in movies, like “Paranorman”. And I’m sure that involves more work, therefore, more time.

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Musical Movies: Why Were They Huge in the 20th Century?

Image from Pixabay

Although I was born at the end of the 20th century (1993), I still watched a lot of old movies growing up. I noticed that many of them were musicals.

There was “The Wizard of Oz”, “Singing in the Rain”, “The Sound of Music” and many, many more. Then there were the Disney classics, like “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid”. But Disney still makes their classics musicals, even if they [sadly] stopped doing 2D-animated movies after 2011.

While there are musical movies of this century, like “The Greatest Showman” and “Mamma Mia”, I am going to focus on those released in the 20th century.

Why were musicals so big? Was it because movies were new forms of entertainment in the early 1900’s. Well, those had no dialogue, except for words shown on the screen after the scenes.

But once dialogue could be heard and not explained through separate words on the screen, musical films were born.

Of course, not every movie was a musical. For example, could you imagine films like “Jaws” being a musical? Or “Friday the 13th”? I think horror and thriller movies would have looked strange with singing and dancing.

By the end of the 20th century, musical movies seemed less common. Maybe people were tired of them? Or they wanted to focus more on the stories than the singing and dancing? There are people who favor that more. Therefore, they prefer live plays over musicals. I’m the opposite, though. I find shows with singing and dancing more fun to watch as they look much harder to perform in. But that’s another topic.

Musical films seem a lot less common these days. Oh well. Just like time, trends change. I have not seen “The Greatest Showman”, but I have seen “Into the Woods”. Although I usually enjoy musicals, I will admit that “Into the Woods” wasn’t really my cup of tea.

This post may have seemed like a lot of questions asked. But it is just an observation of movies and their trends.

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Be Happy With this “Inside Out” Critique (2015)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

This film must have been so hard to produce. And that is what makes it so enjoyable. It probably involved a lot of studies behind the mind and emotions.

There were actually going to be more emotions than the five the film created for Riley. But that didn’t work out.

Enough said on the introduction. Let’s get down to the critique.

First, the strengths:

1: The mind and emotion constructions

The mind is an abstract place. The creators made everything so literal, and that must’ve been very difficult. There was the train of thought, the core memories, islands representing Riley’s different interests and life essentials, and, of course, the emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

The emotions matured as Riley aged over time. When Riley was a toddler, the emotions would react strongly to broccoli and no dessert if she didn’t finish her dinner (which had no protein, by the way. But that’s another topic).

By the time Riley was eleven, the emotions have matured even more. I appreciated how Joy could feel grief and pain as she was unable to make Riley happy throughout much of the film. She even cried in the “all is lost” moment. However, there is also a special feature of Riley without her internal emotions being shown. And I heard the viewer can understand why Riley can’t be happy.

2: Bing-Bong

Who doesn’t love Bing Bong? Or that cute little song Riley made up as a toddler? He was such an imaginative character as well as a fun one. I loved when he barged into Riley’s dream. But it was very sad when he died as Joy had to continue her way back to headquarters.

3: The “Triple Dent Gum” song

Why was that song so annoying to Riley and even the bus driver in the end credits? I found it amazing and funny. It was a great way to incorporate humor.

4: The boy’s emotions at the end

“Girl, girl, girl.” The emotions panic like crazy in his head. It was so hilarious. It is also realistic for boys if girls like them. Many have been nervous about impressing girls. The animals’ emotions were funny too.

Which brings me to the flaws…

1: Why do Riley’s parents have all male or female emotions while Riley has both?

This plot hole has been wondered so much by the general public. However, the creators revealed that it was just for humor. I guess that’ll work.

2: Why do the Andersons move?

When things go well, of course conflict has to happen. However, why did Mr. and Mrs. Anderson sell the house? Why did they move to a less-appealing building, both unattractive on the outside and the inside? Were they unable to afford the house in Minnesota? Did one of the parents get offered a new job in San Francisco?

It makes sense for Riley to be unhappy with the move. At the end, one of her parents says that they missed Minnesota (but they were the one who chose to leave). Is it supposed to remain a mystery?

3: Would a pizzeria really only serve broccoli pizza?

It’s believable for a pizzeria to only to plain cheese pizza. But just broccoli pizza, only for plot convenience? I can’t imagine so. Also, couldn’t Riley have just removed the broccoli from her pizza?

4: “Child runs away from home and parents comfort them after” cliché

I don’t know why the media keeps portraying this. It’s not really credible, let alone allowing an eleven-year-old to walk to school unsupervised in the 2010s (which would get you in trouble with CPS). Riley also stole her mom’s credit card to pay for a bus ticket back to Minnesota. Add that to running away, Riley would’ve gotten the beating of her life and been severely punished for months if this were believable. But the parents had to feel sorry just for plot convenience. Kids, don’t try this in real life. You will most definitely get the beating of your life as well as be grounded for several months—at least.

5: Toddler Riley has no nipples

Okay, this might be a bit much, although they show topless Toddler Riley. And she has no nipples. When I saw this in the movie theater, I found it strange and was thinking “Maggie Simpson has nipples”.

And that’s all. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It must’ve been one of the hardest films for Pixar and Disney to create. I always found productions that look so challenging to make more enjoyable than those that look to easy to create.