A few years ago, a small studio known as Warner Brothers announced that they were reviving their animation arm (which had been famously killed by Looney Tunes: Back in Action) and were beginning their new lease on cartoon life with a film based on LEGO, simply titled The LEGO Movie.
How we laughed at the time. What a silly idea from the once great studio. Mentally we threw The LEGO Movie into a basket full of “misguided nostalgia” like The Smurfs and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties. But then the movie came out and it…. was AWESOME! So, when an equally ludicrous spin-off – The LEGO Batman Movie – was announced, we all looked on with a degree of anticipation.
The end result is another big win for Warner Brothers, as the movie is almost as good as its predecessor.
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I’ve never been on to subscribe to this idea that kids movies only ever need to appeal to children to be a good movie. You hear the argument often – “the kids enjoyed it so that is fine”. But we’ve seen, over and over again, from every studio in Hollywood – Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, Illumination, Blue Sky, even Warner Brothers – that it is more than possible to make a film that is both well-written and well-structured, and also able to keep the kids entertained. So, it stands to reason that unless you’re looking for an easy, cheap TV film to play at 3pm on the Cartoon Network, you should be held to the standard of the great animated films.
Trolls, the latest film from DreamWorks Animation, didn’t seem too interested in reaching those heights at all. Instead, we get a movie that offers little to any audience member that has significantly higher cognitive ability than the average glass of orange juice. And since I refuse to judge a movie as “Good because the tiny kids might enjoy it”, I have no hesitation in calling this film the worst I’ve seen in 2016.
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In a dramatic departure for this page, this review is actually being published prior to everyone already seeing the movie. Thanks to Event Cinemas, I was able to catch an advance screening of Moana, but this film does not hit Australian theatres until Boxing Day.
It’s been a very interesting year for animated movies. Earlier in the year, before I even reviewed movies beyond commenting on Facebook posts and annoying my friends with my thoughts on movies they weren’t even contemplating seeing, I saw Disney’s Zootopia. On the conclusion of that movie, I was convinced that I’d just seen the best animated movie of the year. I was prepared to hand an Oscar to the film immediately. Yet somehow, miraculously, Zootopia is now the clear 3rd best animated movie of the year.
What is less clear is what is the best animated movie of the year. The options are this film, and Kubo and the Two Strings. All I know is that one of those movies will take home the Animated Oscar, and I will be very happy for it, while also being disappointed for the one that doesn’t take it home. Anad that is very high praise indeed.
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Guest reviewer Kieran Meaney brings you his thoughts on the latest animated film from Illumination Studios. Give it a read and stay tuned for my review tomorrow, featuring a spooky horror film. I can’t wait! *hides under blanket* – Adam
Just in case you notice the different handwriting – yes, I’m not your usual beloved reviewer. I am, in fact, yet another bloody critic. Sorry, the usual guy had some other film to see. That’ll probably come along later. For now, let’s follow some random guy off the street’s opinion of the Illumination Studios tried-to-be-a-Pixar-masterpiece The Secret Life of Pets.
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It’s been a very strong year for animated films. The dynamic duo of Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Studios brought out mega-hits with Zootopia and Finding Dory earlier in the year, and other films like Kung Fu Panda and The Secret Life of Pets (coming soon in Australia) have had huge financial success. Even something like Sausage Party has been a hit in the genre, as… unconventional as it is. Sure, we also got Ice Age 5, but nothing is perfect.
And into this stacked field comes Kubo and the Two Strings, a stop-motion animation film from the mostly unheralded but very accomplished studio Laika. And it’s probably the best of the lot. An absolute delight.
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Welcome back, readers! I’m back reviewing another movie for another week, and this week it is the delightful, cute and cuddly animated film Sausage Party. By delightful I, of course mean dark, cute translates to raunchy and cuddly is code for DEFINITELY NOT FOR KIDS. Just thought I’d get that one out right off the bat. In fact, just to slam that point home, my normally kid-friendly blog will temporarily become an MA15+ affair. Just to drill home the point. Seriously, don’t take your kids to this one, parents.
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Pixar Studios. The home of a whole range of very, very good films, a handful of good films, and Cars 2. For the 4th time in the studios history, we’ve received a sequel to an original Pixar film, which for many is a cause for concern. While Pixar have had some fantastic movies, any sequel not titled Toy Story tends to disappoint. Monsters University was inferior to the superb Monsters Inc, and the aforementioned Cars 2 was the worst thing human kind ever produced. So when Pixar came out with a sequel to what is, in my mind, the second best Pixar film ever made (and that’s saying something), I was worried.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Finding Dory”