Just when I never thought it would never see the light of day, out comes The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, just in time for the latest streaming service, Paramount+, to be released. With movie theaters in America being limited due to the ongoing pandemic, streaming has been the savior of many movies for those still not willing to go to a theater and catching the COVID virus; many of Warner Bros. films have been slated to release on HBO Max simultaneously with a theatrical release, while Disney+ has been trying to add premier access with films like Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has only found a theatrical release in the international market during the past summer, though I am not sure how well it did. I doubt it will even find an audience, with the amount of streaming services competing against each other. Only those who are true Spongebob fans, like myself, will even bother to give Paramount+ a shot just for 91 minutes of Spongebob and his friends.
Tom and Jerry, the world famous cat and mouse from Hanna and Barbera, return to the big (and small) screen in a live-action/CG-animated hybrid film, which has the same humor you come to expect from the duo, but the dullness of a modern children’s comedy trying so hard to be funny, yet will only appeal to the youngest of kids. The good thing I can say about this mediocre mess of a film is that, unlike the previous animated film from 1992, the cat and mouse do not talk. As you can expect, they fight, slap, chase, pull, prod, and many other things, yet while all the action is happening, we have to sit through a story concerning human characters that we end up caring little about, making us wish we had better things to do.
The best type of movies that Pixar makes are the ones that are the most meaningful. It is clear that the studio known for making films like Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and The Incredibles know a thing or two about what speaks to people. Sure, their films are kid-friendly, but the thing that makes Pixar the gold standard in animation, besides the beautiful animation that gets better with each entry, but the themes that resonate with the oldest of viewers. Soul is no exception. While it may be as fun as a Pixar film should be, it ranks along the likes of Up, Inside Out, and Coco as one of the studios most emotional, deep, and mature efforts.
Like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘The Willoughbys’ is quirky both in style and sense of humor; taken straight from other dysfunctional families that have come before them, blended into a colorful, candy-coated, yarn-filled family-comedy-adventure that may be a bit predictable, but fun once you buy into its characters. Tim (Voice of Will Forte) is neurotic and wants the best for his family. His sister, Jane (Voice of singer Alessia Cara) is always singing the same melody and always asking the what-ifs of their situations, while both the Barnabys (Voice of Seán Cullen) are monotonously similar that it is hard to tell them apart, prompting their nanny (Voice of Maya Rudolph) to label one A and the other B. Though, what makes them all similar are their red-heads which come from a generation of Willoughbys before them.
It is easy to dismiss ‘The Addams Family’ as yet another unnecessary reboot since so many people are more familiar with Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 film and its 1993 sequel; yet, in actuality, this “creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and all-together ooky” family has been around since cartoonist Charles Addams brought them to the comic pages in 1938. Though nothing is more familiar than the 1964 television series with Carolyn Jones as vampiric matriarch Morticia and John Astin as the suave and debonair Gomez and its theme song which still causes fingers to snap along every time it plays. No matter which version you prefer, it is clear that the legacy of the Addams’ still lives on.
You would think that ‘Toy Story 4’ was nothing more than a pointless cash grab, but in the case of this continuation of a sweet conclusion to a trilogy, you would be surprised. ‘Toy Story’ is Pixar’s most beloved and meaningful of its properties. Not only did it put Pixar on the map and pave the way for computer animation to be the new norm, it also manages to appeal to both children and adults. Just the name “Toy Story” alone is enough to bring joy into the hearts of those who hear it being mentioned. To ruin such a beloved trilogy for the sake of money and merchandising is basically a crime against humanity. Thankfully, ‘Toy Story 4’ still has enough heart to keep the franchise alive.
Five years after ‘The Lego Movie’ became a cultural phenomenon, ‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ manages to show us that everything is still awesome, though not quite, since everything has literally become an apocalyptic wasteland, straight from a ‘Mad Max’ movie, but in terms of entertainment, it can be fun. ‘The Second Part’ picks up immediately after the first ‘Lego Movie’ left off, where Emmett (Voice of Chris Pratt) and his friends find their world invaded by Duplo bricks. Of course, if anyone can remember, the events of ‘The Lego Movie’ were revealed to be conjured up in the head of a young boy named Finn (Jadon Sand, who reprises his role), who was playing with his busy dad’s Lego bricks. While that film had an ambiguity on whether the world of Lego was real or just a metaphor about family bonding, ‘The Second Part’ proves to be nothing more than a story about sibling rivalry and growing up.
I never would have thought that an animated ‘Spider-Man’ movie would be the best in the series, but here we are. ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is the type of film that respects its superhero and history while also being entertaining and meaningful. It tells the story of Miles Morales (making his on-screen debut), and his own personal journey to become Spider-Man. Most comic book fans know that Peter Parker was not the only webslinger who has existed. Throughout the years, there have been many incarnations of Spider-Man, and most are represented in many different animation styles.
Out of all the modern Disney movies that has come out in recent years, none has ever tackled the subject of the internet more than ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, the long-awaited sequel to ‘Wreck-it Ralph’. While most people are looking forward to ‘Frozen 2’ (Seriously, who was?), I was waiting for ‘Wreck-it Ralph 2’ to finally be made. Though, one could argue whether a sequel was truly necessary when the first film was great on its own. Thankfully, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ does not lose its sense of social commentary or charm when compared to ‘Wreck-it Ralph’.
For those wondering about ‘The Grinch’, it is not like the Jim Carrey/Ron Howard collaboration at all, it is bright, colorful, whimsical, and touching despite mostly being filler for a story meant to be short. In other words, it is definitely better. Though nothing beats Chuck Jones’ 1966 animated Christmas special that made the green mischief-maker a Christmas staple, Illumination’s take on Dr. Seuss’ spiteful-yet-beloved character is as sweet as a sugar cookie, even when it is not much.