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’.
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Winnie the Pooh and friends return in yet another live-action remake of a popular animated Disney classic, only this time, it is more of a sequel than a straight remake. In it, Christopher Robin is all grown up (and played by Ewan McGregor), with a wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael), and a job as an efficiency expert at a company run by Giles Winslow (Mark Gatiss); though his job gives him little to no time with his family. Christopher Robin feels stuck in the hum-drum of work. But who better than Winnie the Pooh (Voiced yet again by Jim Cummings) to save the day, and show Christopher what he has been missing?
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It has been (almost) fourteen years since ‘The Incredibles’ was released in theaters; I say “almost”, because the first film was released sometime in November, whereas, this sequel was released in June. However, since superhero movies have been the new “Summer Blockbuster”, last month was a perfect way to ring in the summer. Let me just tell you that ‘Incredibles 2’ is a delight from start to finish. Not only does the animation look as clean and fresh as ever, but the film is pretty darn entertaining, both as a superhero movie, and as a family comedy!
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Disney and Pixar’s newest effort ‘Coco’ was everything I wanted (and expected) from the moneymaking animation studio. It is, at times, funny, well-animated in every detail, bright, colorful, and even heartbreaking. Not since 2015’s ‘Inside Out’ has Pixar made quite an impact on my movie-going experience to the point where I want to revisit its bright and beautiful world; it seemed that after that animated masterpiece, the studio has not seemed to match ‘Inside Out’ in terms of quality storytelling, even if they have not lost the stroke of the brush; ‘The Good Dinosaur’ was near forgettable and felt like other animated movies that have come before it; ‘Finding Dory’ did not live up to its emotional potential when compared to ‘Finding Nemo’; and ‘Cars 3’ was quite fine, but nothing to write home about. With ‘Coco’, it looks like Pixar is back in business; proving once again that they have what it takes to be the top dog in computer animation.
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Despite what Pixar wants you to believe, ‘Cars 3’ is not really the third installment of the successful series of cash cows, it is actually the second film that took a decade to make. This might sound confusing, but ‘Cars 2’ didn’t really exist; what you saw before this film was actually a rough screen test that was accidentally released to the public before they made changes. “Why does the ‘3’ exist in the title?”, you may ask. I could answer that by saying that the studio realized too little too late that the damage had already been done, and what was called “Cars 2” at the time was already released, so they decided to slap the number 3 in the title. I’m not even sure I should call this movie “Cars 3”, but I will just play Pixar’s game and, try as I might, to call it what it was marketed as. (However, I should have listened to the man I happened to overhear call it “Cars 2” when I was paying for my ticket; he knew what was going on.)
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What is the threat Captain Jack Sparrow has to face this time around? Might I remind you that he fought Captain Barbossa and his crew of pirates to retrieve the Black Pearl in ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’, found treasure containing a beating heart in ‘Dead Man’s Chest’, faced his inner madness and later fought Davy Jones in ‘At World’s End’, and went on a quest with former jilted flame (played by Penelope Cruz), and the ruthless Blackbeard in ‘On Stranger Tides’. Here, at first, he is nowhere to be seen until – 15 minutes in – he is found sleeping with a governor’s wife while napping off one of his drunken hangovers in a giant bank, which causes a funny chase that kicks off the fun, high-octane action that the series held on to for so many years. While that may not be the actual challenge Sparrow has to face, ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ seems to focus on the humor more than the quest written out for the heroes: Seeking out Poseidon’s ancient, all-powerful trident with the power to get rid of any curse placed on everyone, mostly pirate.
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It is a story that revolves around one enchanted rose, two lovers, and is considered by many to be referred to as “a tale as old as time”; most famously from the likes of lyricist Howard Ashman (who died 8 months prior to the release of the original animated classic), Angela Lansbury (Who was the original voice of Mrs. Potts), and the duo who sang the original title song, Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. The original ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was an animated masterpiece that relied on beautiful animation, sweeping camera motions, and the energy of a classic Hollywood musical. It also went on to gain 2 Oscar wins (‘Best Music, Original Song – ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Best Music, original score), and 4 other Oscar nominations (including Best Picture, making it the first animated feature to achieve that category.) While this updated remake in Disney’s roster is visually stunning with its CGI effects that put last year’s ‘The Jungle Book’ to shame (At least in my opinion), the film also turns out rather clunky and doesn’t show us the energy that the original animated film had.
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Although not the first ethnic Disney leading lady, (and certainly not the first female to take charge and become independent) there is something about Moana (Voice of newcomer Aul’i Cravalho) that makes her an inspiration to young girls like the few who have come before her. Much like Merida from ‘Brave’, she is a free spirit who longs for adventure and can be a bit stubborn. Comparing her to Mulan from the movie of the same name, and Princess Anna from ‘Frozen’, she is determined to reach her goal and do what’s right even if the impossible tries stopping her. She is the leading lady that all the girls in the audience should look up to. (Disney is full of these women, trust me.) I say leading lady, because she does not like to be acknowledged as a princess. (Which, in turn, leads to a very clever satirical joke by Dwayne Johnson’s demigod Maui regarding the stereotype.)
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Score: 4.5 out of 5
What made the original ‘Pete’s Dragon’ charming was not just because it was a musical featuring a cartoon dragon in a live-action setting with real actors, but because of the relationship between an optimistic boy named Pete and his dragon friend named Elliot that made it worth watching. I was one of those kids who grew up watching the original Disney classic from 1977 on Videocassette to the point where I’ve considered it to be one of my favorite movies, so I was looking forward to this remake directed by David Lowery; I was also a little skeptical of it, because of how it was marketed as a thrilling fantasy-adventure and abandoned the musical element that made me enjoy the original so much. After seeing it however, I felt a sense of calm and realized that the decision to remake ‘Pete’s Dragon’ was much needed.
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Score: 3.5 out of 5
This is film review 15
The jungle has never been brighter, the story has never been more mature, and the effects are quite decent in Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book.’ Jon Favreau – who you may know as the director of ‘Iron Man’ 1 & 2 and ‘Chef’, which he took the main role as a struggling cook – has given us his vision of not only the Rudyard Kipling books, but the original animated Disney movie which showed us a positive dancing blue bear named Baloo who became friends with a stubborn, yet cheerful man-cub named Mowgli. In this film, Mowgli is played by Neel Sethi, who is almost comparable to the animated man-cub. Sadly, his performance is disappointing; his delivery starts off as a boy who can’t project or scream when a bear wakes him up.
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