Sing

Add fun cartoon animals to an ordinary plot makes things so much better. If Sing was done with real people, I would not have been interested in it. The world doesn’t even take that much advantage of the fact that the cast are all animals. It comes into play at times, but most of the time it doesn’t factor into things. But still, adorable cartoon animals just make it better.

The plot is a singing competition, and a rather standard one. There is perhaps one too many main characters, that all of them lack a bit, but I like the contestants and don’t want to get rid of any of them.

In the movie, Buster Moon runs an old theater in financial trouble. As a means of getting business, he starts a singing competition but accidentally sends out a prize worth 100 times what he intended. Buster Moon does lie about it to keep his show going. Actually, there are a few morally questionable actions going on through the movie in our main characters. Most of them are good people, but they still do bad things.

Probably just from a design point, my favorite character is Ash. I think Johnny’s plot was a bit heavy, so it suffered most from making things kid friendly. Overall, I think each of the main contestants plot needed one more scene. And the thing I wanted to see most but wasn’t in the film was more interaction between the contestants! They all have their moments with Buster Moon, but not with each other. The film makes it clear that they’re friends, but they don’t show any of that. I know that would make the film even longer, but I don’t mind.

Sing is a rather standard plot made fun by cartoon animals, cartoon situations and cartoon physics. No real suprises here, but solid songs and endearing characters abound.

Oh, some spoilers thoughts here.

I saw the trailer and wow did the trailer pretty much spoil everything. Geeze, let some things be a surprise.

I think Mike is a pretty interesting character. He starts off a jerk, and is still a jerk at the end of the film. And his problems aren’t entirely solved at the end of the film like I thought it would be. I thought that when Johnny’s father went to the theater to see him with the police chasing after him, the police would run into the bears and solve that issue. Nope. Didn’t happen.

Also, Gunter. I know he’s not one of the main contestants, but I wanted to see more of him. Maybe just one scene about what he does outside of the show. He’s a rather fun-loving and standup guy that only exists for Rosita’s plot. It would have been good to see what he likes to do.

Yeah. Fun movie. I liked the final songs. It felt good to see the results of the contestants’ hard work.

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Aquaman

Alright. Let’s do this. Arthur (Aquaman) is a bro jock throughout most of the movie with a some surprising history knowledge, but he mainly likes solving problems the direct way. It makes for a fun character and movie. Aquaman, the film, is fun, fantastical and full of great visuals. It’s the underwater Star Wars movie I didn’t know I wanted. (And I do know there was an underwater part in Star Wars).

This movie is pretty fun. Arthur’s half-brother, Orm, is trying to start a war between Atlantis and the Surface world The scenes between Arthur and Mera are great. Mera is the one with all the goals and ideas, Arthur just wants to punch things. The two of them work together well and both learn things through the film. They are fun to watch together.

On the bad guys side, you have Black Manta and Orm. Both of them have some great scenes. While Black Manta isn’t in the film as much, he has a good amount of scenes and doesn’t linger to the point of being extraneous. Ocean Master has some good development, and he has great fight scenes with Arthur. I think both of them are great villains that match up against Aquaman in different ways. It’s great to see the difference in style of their action scenes.

There are several fantastic visuals in Aquaman. This is a fantasy movie with some technology elements. You have soldiers riding seahorses wielding laser rifles. It’s a cheesy kind of awesome. Then there is the trench scenes. That part was great. There are big, wonderful places everywhere in the film. The climax of the movie is really fun and fully shows off the underwater people.

This film tells a more light-hearted story that’s filled with jokes and quips, but there are a lot of serious moments there. It has an earnestness to the cheesy parts that make it work. Aquaman has a different tone compared to the previous DC Cinematic Universe movies, but it works really well and it builds a wonderful world all under the water. You won’t see any new side to superheroes here, but it is a lot of fun throughout.

Tomorrowland

This movie is about Tomorrowland, a place where scientists gather and solve the world’s problems. Things don’t work out, of course, but that’s what the purpose is. A young girl, Athena, goes out to find potential recruits, such as our two main characters, Frank and Casey. Frank has turned bitter and old after getting kicked out of Tomorrowland while Casey is still bright-eyed and optimistic. Together, they need to stop some kind of mysterious machine.

This film isn’t subtle about messages. It wants people to feed hope and do good in the world. It’s a fine message, but it’s still delivered strongly. And how much you enjoy the movie might come down to how much you agree with their way of saving the world. I really like science and technology, so that part is fine for me.

The movie is okay, mostly. It could be much better, though. Hmm. There’s a lot that might be spoilers, so I’ll have to talk about it later. For the main characters, though, I liked all three of them. Athena is the best part of the film, for certain. She has that low-key sass where you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late.

Frank and Casey are fine counterpoints while still being on the same side. They’re both amusing in their own way.

The movie does drag on a bit. There are a lot of action scene that are fun when taken on their own, but all they do is draw out the length of the film. It’s alright, but it could have been better.

Time for spoiler thoughts, which I’ll get more into my problems with the film.

Tomorrowland, Tomorrowland. For being the title of the movie, Tomorrowland almost feels unimportant. It’s the goal of the characters to reach there, but we don’t see enough of Tomorrowland. Perhaps it’s budget or something, but for most of the time we’re in Tomorrowland, the characters are indoors with not much going on.

Most of the film is about just getting to Tomorrowland. We don’t spend much time in the city at all. And when we do, the city feels really different from how it was shown earlier without much of an explanation why. The film should have focused more on Tomorrowland, less on the world outside. And when we were in Tomorrowland, everything felt small. There were only a few characters shown at a time and all the indoor shots hid the scale of the city.

And solving Tomorrowland’s problem felt too easy. Just replace the leader. Yep, that did it. There’s no system of people in place that liked the old leader or disliked him. We didn’t see any of that.

Tomorrowland is a movie that wants to have hope and dreams in the world, and that’s great. The movie itself is merely alright.

The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets, all about the secret life of pets. Who woulda thought it? Cute talking animals and their perilous journey home. This is a fun, if standard film. Our main characters are Max and Duke, two dogs that get captured by dog catchers and escape. They must then make their way back home while bickering with each other.

Instead of having a unique plot, this movie has style and pizazz. It’s funny and fast-paced. In fact, this movie is lot more about funny situations rather than characters. Out of everyone, the most fully-realized character is the Bunny. I enjoyed his crazy antics, and I think he has the most depth of out all of them, even if it gets glossed over quick.

The other character I like is Gidget. She’s great, but I did think she needed more interaction with Max in the beginning. The movie moved on too fast from them so her later desire to help Max felt like it came out of nowhere.

The rest of the characters in the movie are mainly their for a joke or two. They do their one task and then are relegated to being in the background.

When I enjoyed the movie most was seeing the pets in their apartments having their secret lives. I also enjoyed the secret lives of the discarded pets. As for Max and Duke trying to find their way home, it’s a thing I saw a lot. And thanks to the fast pace of the movie, I never felt their conflict. They got over not liking each other really fast.

I also really liked the opening scene and the ending scene. It’s just unfortunate the plot of the movie is rather mundane.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

The sequel to Wreck-it Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet. This time, Ralph and Vanellope must go to the internet to obtain a part needed to save Sugar Rush as the steering wheel broke. However, along the way, both of them discover certain things about what they want and reevaluate themselves.

One thing that surprised me was how little Felix and Calhoun were in the movie. They were set up with a subplot, but the movie chose not to show it, rather jumping to the end result later in the film. I would really have liked to see more of Felix and Calhoun, but I  could also see how they were not important to Ralph and Vanellope this time around. IT would be a fun added short, but not as part of the main film.

The internet visuals are great and imaginative. It’s bright, colorful and full of amzing technology. Sure, there are lots of real world products going on, but that’s fine. A movie can get distracting if they do weird things just to not reference the real world. Though this film kind of does both. They have real companies, but they also have their own versions, which they say are compareable in popularity.

The new characters in this film are pretty fun. Unfortunately, none of them have plot to themselves. Pretty much everything revolves around Ralph and Vanellope. But the new characters are interesting and memorable. I liked the pop-up guy a lot despite not liking real life pop-ups at all.

Since everything is about Ralph and Vanellope, how are they in the film? Vanellope, I liked a lot. Ralph is a loveable goofball for a good portion of the film, though I they turned up his goofball qualities compared to the first film. Ralph actually seems to be less mature now than before.

The movie doesn’t settle into a central conflict until later, leaving the early parts feeling a bit like just seeing Ralph and Vanellope going around doing fun stuff. It’s stylish with some funny parts, but more difficult to get into. It just seems they’re running around doing random things for most of the film. Once the conflict gets started, the film becomes much more engaging.

A highlight of the film is when Vanellope goes to the Disney website and meets the princesses. Sure, it might be considered self-indulgent of Disney, but I really like the princesses and they’re cool in the film. That part brought out a big smile when it happened. I want a Disney princess crossover movie. Infinite Wars.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is fun with great visuals. Aside from the main characters, everyone else is less interesting, though. It is a story that fully centers around the Ralph and Vanellope with no room for other things.

Fantastic Beasts, The Crimes of Grindlewald

I quite enjoyed some of the first movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This movie is much the same. I enjoyed part of it. Though I really liked those parts. This movie takes place about nine month after the first. Grindlewald has, of course, escaped. He must be stopped and recaptured before something bad happens.

This movie has less fantastic beasts, but they are there, and they’re still amazing. Some of my favorite parts of the movie are just seeing Newt at work, both in his magic conservation area and out in the field. The magical animals are wonderful. They look great and act great. This time, they’re much more tied into the main plot.

Still, I can’t help but want a movie not about dark wizards and all that. Just have Newt go on adventures with his friends finding magical creatures. It’s great fun whenever they show up.

But this movie is about a lot of things. Perhaps too much. Tina has her own stuff as an auror. Jacob and Queenie have something going on. Credence, yes, he’s back. No, it’s not a huge spoiler for the film. He has something going on. Then Grindlewald is doign stuff. Dumbledore and the ministry is doing stuff. There are whole new characters doing stuff. It’s all too much.

It gets to the point where I can’t follow everything that’s going on, so I’m not clear on what certain character’s motivations are. This movie feels like one of the later Harry Potter movies in that it’s trying to adapt a super-long book into something a few hours long. Only it’s not, yet it feels like I should have read the book to fully get what was going on sometimes.

For the returning characters, I still quite enjoy all of them. One thing I wanted was more Newt and Jacob hanging out, being pals. Unfortunately, they’re too busy chasing down other characters to do that. Newt is still is wonderfully awkward self. I still can’t quite get into Grindlewald, though he does have some nice, scenes in this film building him up as a future force to be reckoned with.

For new characters, we have young Dumbledore! And he’s quite great to see. Leta Lestrange is another great new character. She has a complete story and is pretty much one of the few characters with a complete arc in the film. It was a touching story, too. Theseus is Newt’s brother. I quite like the relationship the two of them have. They love each other but are also exasperated by each other, and I want to see more of them moving forwards.

Yusuf, on the other hand, feels unnecessary. He is like a subplot from the books that would have been cut for a movie adaptation. Unless he becomes really important going forwards, I think the movie would work better without his subplot. It just adds another direction to things. I also don’t think we needed Credence’s friend, the cursed woman. I know why they have someone around, because otherwise Credence would have been alone for most of the film. Still, it feels like one more thing to keep track of.

That is a large problem with the film. There’s just too much going on. Visually, it’s stunning. Magic effects are bigger than ever, and so are the magic creatures. Story, though, could be more focused. They’re mostly trying to set up things in this film for next time, and that doesn’t make for a satisfying story.

A bit more of my thoughts in the spoiler section. This won’t be heavy spoilers, but some.

Okay, here goes. This movie feels like the middle part of a trilogy. The first part introduces the concept. The middle part is where the bad guy wins and the heroes need to recover somehow. Yet, if all goes to plan, this move is the second part of five. I don’t know how Gindlewald will be engagin being the primary villain for the next three installments. They had better have other things for Newt and friends to actually win rather than them losing for two more films before the final showdown. We’ll see how things go moving forwards.

More Newt and friends working with animals!

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

This is a movie set in a fantastical world of four realms. The Realm of Flowers, the Realm of Ice, the Realm of Sweets and the Fourth Realm. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of that at all.

Clara is our main character. Her and her family are still dealing with the loss of their mother. On Christmas, she gets a gift that leads her on a strange adventure into a magical place. As for our Nutcracker, he’s more of a sidekick. So in a movie called the Nutcracker and the Four Realms, you barely see the realms and the Nutcracker is a side character. It leads to a plain movie, unfortunately.

Our main character, Clara, is fine. She’s a young girl coming to terms with what to do and finding strength in herself. There are several emotional moments for her, but they don’t really feel planned out or earned. She’s upset about something one moment and gets over it pretty quickly the next.

That seems to be a trouble throughout the movie. The characters don’t achieve any big emotional attachment to the viewers. Some of them are quirky, others are funny, but none are impactful. Perhaps the most impactful character is the Sugarplum Fairy, but even her backstory falls a bit flat.

The Nutcracker could have had potentially some cool backstory. Why is he the last one? Who knows. In the film, he feels like a normal guy. There are cool action scenes at times, but he’s not the one doing any of the interesting stuff. It’s all the other characters. Give the Nutcracker a cool fight scene at least!

While we only see the four realms for a bit, they do look great. The visuals in the rest of the movie are nice, too. They do evoke a fantastical feeling. The central palace is grand. The dark forest is spooky. It looks like a cool place to be in. The music is great, too. The costumes are also fantastic. Everyone is distinctive while still fitting together. There are a lot of recognizable songs from Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy and the Nutcracker retuned to fit the scene. It really makes the action better when accompanied by the music.

Also, this movie has some cool ballet scenes if you’re into that.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms needs better character moments. The story is fine. Nothing new but it’s good. The parts in the regular world is pretty interesting. It could have been much more magical.