Tag: Fantasy

Sensation

I got a feeling, inside my bones. It goes electric when I turn it…on? (Wait, it should be electric before being turned on. To be turn onable one would assume you have electric capabilities already, but what do I know).

Sorry, I am not here to criticize Mr. Timberlake, that was a different review. I am here to talk about different feelings a person might have, or at least, different sensations.

The movie Sensation is made in not-America (this time Canada!)  and it is an independent film that deals with themes of superhero potential and potential virtual worlds. What is real? What is not? It can be the next mind explosion or it can be a drop in the water and no one care for it. Which will it be…which will it be…which will it be…

bench
Ah yes, time to get on roofs, look out on the city, and think about feelings. 

Andrew Cooper (Eugene Simon), no relationship to Anderson Cooper (probably), does have some questions about his genetics. He submitted his DNA to a testing facility, to find out about his medical history and real history, all of that, and apparently things have gone awry since then.

Long story short, he is special. More special than the other special people. He might even have some super powers. He might be able to see that his reality isn’t a reality, and be able to distort things because shit isn’t real anyways. Can he get powers from emotions? We shall see!

But what even is reality? Maybe everything is a lie and this shit is fake.

These mind fucks also feature Emily Wyatt, Jennifer Martin, Marybeth Havens, Alastair G. Cumming, Anil Desai, Kai Francis Lewis, Alex Reid, and Lorraine Tai.

bus
Is this bus real? If it is a real bus, where did the roof go? Hmm?!

If that plot description sounded vague, that is because 98% of this film went in my brain and out the other. It never once made me care about the people in it, or what they were saying. I remember only a few scenes, just days later, and the ending, but it is not like it is an ending I want to remember.

This movie takes ideas from other films, crams a few of them together, and leaves nothing desirable at the same time. I wouldn’t say the ending is predictable in that I knew how it would end. But it was predictable in that I knew it wouldn’t feel satisfying or justify the time spent watching Sensation.

Fuck. I went in a little excited based on the plot line of this one. No one made me know of this films existence, I found out about it on my own from a VOD release site. I didn’t go in wanting it to be bad. But it was just so full of drivel and rehashed other plots that it had no chance of keeping my interest.

You all probably won’t see it, because you probably didn’t know it even existed, so this warning won’t mean much. But definitely do not waste your time.

0 out of 4.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla. King Kong. Lizard. Ape. Will buildings get destroyed? Yes. Buildings will get destroyed.

The attempts to combine these franchises (well, one recent Kong Movie and two recent Godzilla movies) into one ultimate destruction battle was a lofty one, but clearly not one unheard of in our connected universes strategy of films. It was a guarantee, I imagine, to one day occur. I tried to come in ready for it, but honestly, I still never saw Godzilla: King of Monsters from two years ago, and at this point, I can’t imagine I will.

I was hoping that seeing the other two intro films would be enough, but it looks like this film made mostly throw backs to that last one, versus the other two. Damn it.

In Godzilla vs. Kong, the director promised there would be an obvious winner and not some bullshit tie overall. That is an important claim to make and really one of the main reasons I decided to even watch this one.

blast
Oh, Rave Godzilla has to be one of my favorite Godzillas. 

Rawr! Let’s get it on! Wait, no, not yet. First of all, Godzilla has been firmly established as some sort of Alpha Predator, whose sole purpose and existence is meant to make sure no other threats ruin the world. Godzilla doesn’t want to destroy, it wants to keep the balance and go back to the depths.

Kong though is another alpha predator thing. So some people are worried that this means Godzilla is going to come and destroy him at some point, so they have him in hiding, sort of.

There are also some corporations doing corporation things. There is a theory of a Hallow Earth where these beasts must have come from, that is likely to have huge power sources. So some companies want that power. Some want to just return Kong to his home. Some want to destroy all the monsters. You know, typical stuff.

Overall, they are going to have to fight, multiple times, and we are going to have to see things get fucked up along the way.

Also starring some humans like Alexander Skarsgård, Brian Tyree Henry, Demián Bichir, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Kaylee Hottle, Kyle Chandler, Lance Reddick, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, and Shun Oguri.

kong
Is this his “fuck around, find out” face?

Hey? Do you like monsters fighting? Then this film has some of that! Honestly, I did think there would be more fighting overall, so I am surprised that there wasn’t even more. But I guess only two main monsters can wail on each other for awhile. There are some minor monsters in the Hallow Earth area too, but they don’t do much for the action or the plot.

Of course the plot is weak. And again, I am disappointed about how much of it is based on the King of Monsters film, just because I hadn’t seen it. Literally any returning characters (outside of the giant ones) were from that movie. It did have some surprises in store, which helped keep things interesting. But at least early on, the slowness of the plot, and even the first battle, failed to keep things super interesting for me.

Now one major plus is that the fight scenes were all incredible visible and detailed, and I loved that. Giant monster fights and CGI have usually meant a lot of dark fights, or messy blurs, where your mind has to put in the action, but that only happened a little bit in the first major fight, due to the underwater aspect. The major fights that mattered where very clear and that added a huge amount of awesome to the film.

And what about the winner? Did the director lie? No. Not really. I can understand the moment they are saying that there would be clearly one winner, no takeaways. But we still had to fall into some similar versus film tropes that I also wanted out of my movie. From what the director said is the definitive answer, I agree with who was chosen, as it is the one that makes the most sense.  However, again, still, they make it super definitive either. It isn’t as final as I would have hoped based on the remarks, so really, the director remarks set up my expectations to be higher than they would have been otherwise.

Godzilla vs. Kong is still a lot of fun, especially in the last third. Just have to slog through the human stuff, and the early battles.

2 out of 4.

Raya and the Last Dragon

I’ve noticed that since 2016, (so five years ago), I have rated Disney Animation Studios higher than Pixar Studios movies. It is an average of 2.8 versus 1.8 out of 4. That is a whole number grade! Here is my table for comparison.

disneypixar

Now sure, Pixar has churned out more, but it has the only zero, and has a lot of 1s. The only reason Disney is so low due to disappointing sequels. Pixar also has disappointing sequels, but also disappointing for me original movies.

That is all. We will see how the charts look after Luca comes out this year.

But for now, as you can see, I loved Raya and the Last Dragon, a new Disney princess (maybe?) movie, that also features zero songs, which is not just rare, but a first.

dragon
You see that dragon? It won’t sing at all. Shocking. 
Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is your typical daughter of a chief. Her father, Chief Benja (Daniel Dae Kim), is training her as a warrior to protect a magical orb. What does this orb do? Well, lets go back into the history.

Five hundred years ago, there were these evil spirits named Druun that multiplied quickly and turned people into stone. There was also a lot of dragons. This was not fun. So all of the dragons banded together, made this cool orb thing, and it banished all of the Druun! And somehow, turned all the dragons into stone in the process. Very sad times.

Anyways, the orb still does its thing, but the other tribes think that the orb gives the Heart tribe extra power and success for their lands and people. They want the orb for themselves. Chief Benja wants to reunite all the tribes to one glorious nation, and not continue with this otherism.

Well, sure enough, something bad happens, the orb breaks! Each tribe grabs a piece, but now the Druun are now back and that makes things worse. Raya is going to have to fix the orb, and get her people back to normal, and maybe even find a dragon along the way. You know, the last one (Awkwafina).

Also featuring the voices of Benedict Wong, Gemma Chan, Sandra Oh, Izaac Wang, Lucille Soong, and of course, Alan Tudyk, as an animal that only makes sounds.

fight
If you train for hours to fight, then you are going to want to fight.
Raya and the Last Dragon has music, but is not a musical. Did that take away from it? Well, fine, probably not. But I would have loved some songs regardless. But I can’t take away points because I would rather a movie be a musical. I would rather all movies to be a musical.

Raya still kicked ass. She is definitely the strongest fighter of any “Disney princess” before her. Not sure if she is a princess yet officially, but she was the daughter of a chief, so, you know. There isn’t a lot of competition amongst the princesses who can fight or do magic,  but Raya is like a goddamn ninja (yes, different cultural term than this film, but I don’t know a better word). She is quick, and arguably deadly, but doesn’t always use her fighting skills to get out of jams. But that is almost always her plan A.

And having her so driven and technically violent is great, because throughout the film it is technically seen as a flaw, especially from the dragon’s point of view. Why not try friendship, and trust, and things that involve stabbing someone? (No, we don’t see a lot of dead people in this movie who get stabbed, mostly statues. We can’t have a Disney film with a high body count for real).

I love Raya, she is strong and flawed. I am fine with the dragon. She is consistent and not just a humorous sidekick. What I didn’t expect is all of the other side characters that along the journey would also show up and be important to the rest of the story. Great side characters, all full of personality and interesting. They made me cry at the end. I did cry I believe twice, or just one long slow cry, depending on how you break them apart. I will go with two cries.

The movie becomes a bit typical, when it comes to “go to next region that is very different, and then find the next piece.” But each one does have new characters and the orb fragment is protected in different ways. And the ending, while a little predictable, I think is done in a nicely unpredictable way, at least when it comes to the order of events.

Bring on all of the Raya Halloween costumes.

4 out of 4.

Flora & Ulysses

Flora & Ulysses is the latest movie released straight to Disney Plus, and maybe would have gone to theaters if it didn’t exist? Hard to say.

This one is based on a popular book series, so it has a following already, but it is not a giant franchise everyone knows about.

It also involves superheroes. So Disney wants to win at the superhero game, so it is probably why they picked it up. And hey, now they can easily make references to Wolverine in the film and it doesn’t have to go through any weird legal loopholes.

Gotta be good to control everything.

girlbox
Maybe feels better than being a little girl with a squirrel in a box.
Flora (Matilda Lawler) is a superhero lover and a cynic (that latter fact she will say over and over again). She is pretty smart too. Her mom (Alyson Hannigan) is a romance novelist in a funk, probably due to her recent divorce. Her dad (Ben Schwartz) is a comic illustrator and creator, but he can’t get any of his work published and is going full midlife crisis and doesn’t know how to even.

But Flora is surviving it all. And she believes heroes might be out there. Not from hope, but through observations. And when she saves a squirrel from a vacuum cleaner that was behaving weirdly with straight up squirrel based CPR (yes, imagine it, yes), she thinks this might be his radioactive vat. Especially because he is strong, can maybe fly, and can type in English.

So Flora wants him to prove himself and find his purpose, but it seems like everyone is out to get her having a squirrel companion. Especially an animal control agent (Danny Pudi) who has a specific vendetta against squirrels.

So, is he really a superhero squirrel? Or was the real superhero squirrel the friends they made along the way?

Also starring Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Anna Deavere Smith, Bobby Moynihan, and Kate Micucci.

dannycat
I apparently was living just to eventually see Abed wrestle a CGI cat. 
DuckTales! Whoo-ooo! I have barely seen any of the new franchise that I know is ending soon, but it has had good reviews from kids and adults alike. And did you know that most of the main cast is in this film? Pudi/Schwartz/Moynihan/Micucci all have roles big or small. The only big name missing is David Tennant. It is a weird ole Disney Umbrella reunion.

Flora & Ulysses is an ideal family film. It has slapstick comedy and verbal comedy. It has good natured characters for the most part. People want others to succeed and want the best for everyone else. The squirrel is cute and destructive. It has references and jokes that only older people will get, without them being like “oooh adult jokes”. It was good fun for me and my kids of all ages.

I definitely enjoyed Pudi playing a cartoon villain like role. It was weird and fun to see Schwartz as just a good guy dad trying to protect his daughter. It was good to see Hannigan really just doing anything outside of host work since How I Met Your Mother. A fun cast with an interesting topic.

There is not much negative to say about the movie at all. I agree it probably wouldn’t have made a lot of money in the theaters, but seems like a perfect one to watch on screen at your home. It is a movie that I just gave a chance and it definitely hit those good feels throughout the run time.

3 out of 4.

Earwig and the Witch

Here it comes! Studio Ghibli has crossed a line many animation companies have already crossed. They have made a CGI movie. Will they fully cross over and become completely CGI? They were probably the last major holdout that was doing a more traditional look for all of their animated releases.

And I already hate it. I will admit, looking at the stills/trailer for Earwig and the Witch, I didn’t have high hopes for the film. It doesn’t look  great at all. The animation levels look like a small independent company doing their first film ever, that happens to be CGI. Not a pretty successful animation company trying CGI. They have money, they can make it look better.

But alas, I have been iffy on Studio Ghibli movies lately anyways. I have been having a hard time getting into their whimsy and mystery. Maybe this one will fix it?

plane
Spoilers: It wont. 
Earwig (Taylor Henderson) was left on the porch of an orphanage as a baby, from a mysterious woman. They didn’t like that her name was Earwig, and apparently from a witch, so they figured they would hide that latter fact and also call her Erica Wig.

Ten years later, she is a bit of a terror in the orphanage. She does what she wants, she whines and complains, and she knows she wont be adopted ever, so she is biding her time. That is until a scary lady, Bella Yaga (Vanessa Marshall) and a tall scary guy, The Mandrake (Richard E. Grant) waltz in and totally pick her. But why?

Well, Bella Yaga is a witch, she could sense the witchy-ness in Earwig, and she needed an extra set of hands for potion making. Earwig thinks she will learn how to do magic and will totally help out! Turns out that Bella has absolutely no intention of making it pleasant for Earwig, or teaching her magic. Just someone to gather ingredients.

Ah, this new situation sucks. Who would have known that you can just adopt a kid to get a house worker?

Also featuring the voices of Kacey Musgraves, Logan Hannan, and Dan Stevens as a cat.

spystuff
“Damn, that’s a huge witch.”
There are quite a few problems with Earwig and the Witch. And honestly, the CGI is probably the least of its concerns. The CGI is still not great and notably average or below average throughout the movie, but it is not the biggest cause of concern.

Band plot – Worthless. Check out this poster graphic for the film. It is the most common form of advertisement I saw. It definitely does not represent this film. There is a brief band plot, involving history, the witch, mandrake, and Earwig’s mom. And it goes absolutely no where. It certainly doesn’t end up with them all being a band together with Earwig the lead vocals. This poster makes it look like a musical or band movie or anything, and it certainly is not. It teases some of these elements, and never does anything useful with them.

Earwig – She has no growth in this film. She is put into a trial to overcome and succeeds. The problem is, she started as a do whatever she wants child, and the movie ends the same, although definitely worse. No lessons learned. It is a terrible message. When she kept repeatedly calling the cat by her old friend’s name, I assumed it was some twist about the old friend being the cat. But no, they are two different entities. She is just a shitty kid who doesn’t care about the names of who she is talking to. They made a kids movie about a shitty kid.

The ending – By far, this is likely going to be the worst ending of a movie I have seen all year. I can easily imagine this movie making my worst list, and it is far too early to know where it land. But holy shit, this ending is such a waste.

SPOILERS ON THE ENDING. SPOILERS ON THE ENDING. Okay, here it is…It just ends! After some changes with magic occur, we get some weird time jumps, and it feels like the last hour of movie should have taken like 20-30 minutes max. It feels like the movie is about to start and do the main plot. And then with the a door opening and a mom arising, the movie is like, lololol credits. It makes absolutely no sense to have an ending there. It is like we got a prologue of an eventual story, but one I will never seek out, because of being dicked around in this film.

I hope this movie continues to get blasted, because it is truly really bad. And I hope Studio Ghibli doesn’t look at this and blame it on the CGI. Because sure, it is bad, and if it helps not make more like this, then that is swell. But fix the goddamn narrative structure, because this movie is absolutely a waste of anyone’s time who decides to watch it.

0 out of 4.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Maleficent stormed onto the scene many years ago, one of the first of the Disney live action titles, outside of that bad Alice one.And it was pretty forgettable. A weak plot, a lot of time of just watching a kid grow up, and then some terrible CGI fight battles.

But hey, the whole reason for doing it is to say that someone with the name of Maleficent,meaning to cause harm supernaturally, isn’t actually bad. Oh okay. And sure, they made her seem misunderstood, and basically a revenge film about a rape, metaphors aside.

So why is this sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, doubling down on the badness? But she isn’t bad. Just bad looking. Now she is also the mistress of evil? I uhh, don’t know why they want to do this?

I’ll go ahead and say this early enough, that they don’t have a good plot reason for this title.

green
Ah, green fire magic. Magic-y. Evil. 

Alright, so Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a sort of hero, killing a king who was a liar and a bad person, and I guess everyone agreed? She magically got her wings back and restored some sort of order, and went back to her magical forest to chill with magic forest people.

But apparently in like, a year or two, the story changes so much that she is a bad guy again. Cool.

Well, Aurora (Elle Fanning) wants to get married finally though, to Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson), who was definitely recast between movies. So they get their parents together, Aurora finding Maleficent, and Philip getting King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Neither set of parents like this at all, especially not Ingrith, who sets about immediately being a bitch. This leads to a curse being cast on a King, Maleficent noping the hell out of there, and then a war against the fey, again.

But hey, this time there are going to be lots of people like Maleficent this time, so you know, bigger stakes, and lots of CGI warring.

Also starring Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, and Imelda Staunton.

wedding
The king has huge look of regret about this whole thing.

Without a doubt, this is a two hour movie that feels like four hours. On the first day of the year, ready to watch a bunch of films, I was completely warn out after this one, my 2nd film of the day, because of how much this movie dragged.

This felt like more of the same, with worse reasoning for existing. This time, the big CGI fest battle happened for a bigger chunk of the movie, if we start it with the very obvious double cross that started against the magical creatures.

This film tries to do more world building this time, but it is building a world, answering questions none of us had. Maleficent is stronger and better than others because. Just because.

Pfeiffer’s character is completely stupid in this film. An antagonist without a good reason. And honestly, Pfeiffer does nothing to really elevate the role at all, she is here for a paycheck.

Maleficent 2 is a movie with more CGI that is exhausting in his excess without being worth looking at. It has acting from all fronts that is forgettable. It tells a story that is very, very similar to the first one, but with “bigger scales” that don’t really matter either. It is a waste of what felt like four hours of my life.

0 out of 4.

Jumanji: The Next Level

Jumanji: The Next Level is the sequel to the sequel/reboot that was actually the second sequel to a movie that is based on a book from the 1980’s.

But this one has characters from the last one, and is also in a video game, so people like that.

Honestly, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was better than I expected, even with dumb video game inconsistencies that movies just refuse to ever get right when we have real people sucked into video games.

And knowing that this movie had Dwayne Johnson pretending to be Danny DeVito? That was really enough for me to make sure I could see it!

awk
Seems like some glitches have affected the Avatars!
Alright! Time for more video games!

This takes place I guess about two years after the events of our first film. All of our heroes went off to do things. Spencer (Alex Wolff), our main kid I guess, went off to NYC for college, while the girl Martha (Morgan Turner) whom he started to date, went to a different school. She seemed toooo cool for him now and he broke up because of his anxieties and low self worth.

But the four of them still agree to meet up over the holidays, Spencer, Martha, Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), a strange Breakfast club that didn’t end.

This time though, Spencer doesn’t show up, despite coming back home. So they check for him at home and only see some old dudes, Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Milo (Danny Glover). It’s his grandparent and old business partner!

Turns out Spencer went back into the game Also turns out that Spencer even has the game again, despite being all broken. So they agree to go back in, but uh oh, old people get sucked in instead of Bethany! Now they have to explain it all to people who are bad at video games. Not only that, but the game seems to be a sequel, and a new quest!

Ack. Okay. Find Spencer. Finish the game. Don’t die. Also starring the same avatars of Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Jack BlackNick Jonas, and Kevin Hart. Also Awkwafina, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann, and Colin Hanks.

upsidedown car
In this new level, it takes place in Australia! Clearly.

I came for the Rock as Devito, but it turns out the real star was Hart as Glover. It is already hard to see Kevin Hart as anyone besides Kevin Hart. Even in the last film, it was still basically Kevin Hart. But when he was imitating Glover, his voice was deeper, his voice was more thoughtful and slow. And sure, the slower speech was important enough to the plot so that everyone would notice it, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.

The Rock as DeVito? Honestly, a bit more disappointing. At first I thought it must be my own hype ruining it, and maybe DeVito wasn’t as obvious as I thought. But later in the movie, ANOTHER character had to act like DeVito for long periods of time and they nailed it. It was exactly what I was hoping the Rock would do, and he didn’t deliver. And for spoiler reasons I will keep it vague, great job other acting person. You and the previous mentioned Hart description knocked it out of the park.

Now on the other fronts, the plot of this one is really weak. Not just the video game plot, which is part of the point. The real world plot. The old guy anger isn’t worth our time. The plot to get Spencer and friends into the game was terrible this time around. Why does it happen? Because they want a sequel to exist, I guess.

This film still has some fun, and some tricks up its sleeve. And still, like the first, it ends up being just okay.

2 out of 4.

Dark Phoenix

Oh X-Men, how much we weep for thee.

X-Men so bad now, they took X-Men out of the title.

X-Men so bad, they are trying to remake their previous worst main X-Men title with the same writer.

X-Men so bad, they make a movie called Dark Phoenix and don´t have Phoenix in the movie at all.

X-Men so bad, this movie killed the X-Men.

stranger
And no amount of Albinism can save it. 

X-Men: Apocalypse took place in the 1980´s, and this one takes place in the 1990´s and features no real aging of any of the mutants. That is the real superpowers here.

At this point, they are accepted by the public, a weird timeline indeed. And after the crew was sent into space to safe a spaceship disaster. And sure enough, some space dust gets absorbed into Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) making her feel all funny inside.

It turns out Xavier (James McAvoy) may have been lying to her about her past, and hidden some of her own memories from her. That makes her sad. And mad. And willing apparently to turn her back on all of the X-Men, even killing a few of them, just to showcase how mad she is.

Also aliens.

Featuring of various amounts Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Halston Sage, Brian d´Arcy James, Lamar Johnson, Scott Shepherd, and Jessica Chastain.

face
X-Men so bad, their faces are breaking and not the box office records.

X-Men so bad, they keep having their greatest enemy be themselves.

X-Men so bad, that kindness saves the day, like they are care bears.

X-Men so bad, this is not the first time actors have asked for their characters to be killed in order to leave the franchise.

X-Men so bad, that they used time travel to fix the bad movies and still made more bad movies (and time paradoxes).

X-Men so bad, they have failed multiple times to make a hero turning bad in no way compelling for the viewers.

X-Men so bad, they are their own Greek tragedy in terms of a rise and fall of successful films.

X-Men so bad, their film qualities would make a better roller coaster than anything at the Island of Adventure.

X-Men so bad, I put off writing this review for months due to complete and utter apathy.

0 out of 4.

Frozen II

Seven years ago, Frozen hit the world one Thanksgiving week, and we weren’t ready for it. I don’t recall a lot about the trailers, but I do recall the teaser trailer, and it was very basic.

And you know what? I loved it. Most of the soundtrack was really good. They didn’t use Menzel enough, and Groff was ignored stupidly, but they could have done better. It was still a really good sign of Disney amping up their animation department, and led to the also quite perfect Moana!

And let me say, that for Frozen II, I wasn’t dreading it at all. I loved their first teaser trailer. It made this movie look darker, more plot focused, more adventure full. I was ready to be blown away.

horse
A water horse in water? That makes sense. Land horses are on land.
Three years after the events of the first film, everything in Arendelle is going so darn swell. The gates have been open, people are happy and prosperous, and oh golly gee gumdrops, everything will stay the same.

Except… Elsa (Idina Menzel) is starting to hear a strange calling in the distance, and only she is hearing it. And Anna (Kristen Bell) is helping run things, she loves having all these freedoms. Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) is about to propose to Anna, but she is so preoccupied with her sister things keep coming up. And Olaf (Josh Gad) is dealing with his strange existence, getting older and more mature.

All of this only slightly matters. What matters the most is that voice, and all of the exposition the beginning of the film talked about. There used to be an enchanted nearby that the old King saw when he was a boy, and the two groups tried to be friends. But, betrayal! Sadness! And a lot of magic left the world.

I guess Elsa just has that magical adventure itch, because she gets the gang together after a disaster in their city to try and enter that blocked off enchanted forest to see if they can figure out what is going on, or maybe just that voice.

Also starring various voices by Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.

deer
Reindeers rush better than people, Sven wouldn’t you say that’s true? 

Really early on in Frozen II is when I realized things weren’t going to be as good as I had hoped. It started with a scene from their childhood, pre trolls interfering with memory. And it had the long story their dad said about the forest, and a bonus mom song. And the entirety of the movie relies on the scene.

The entirety of a sequel relying on a scene that didn’t happen in the first film? Ugh. There were a lot of plot points they could have naturally done based on the first film. Hell, they could have done most of this film without that scene. But really this just feels like changing the canon. Sure, that kid conversation could have happened in their life and not changed the first film at all. But it now just feels tacked on.

Another downgrade for me is the music overall. Now of course, I love that they gave Groff his own song and parts of other songs, keeping true to his character. They also used Menzel more. But most of the songs don’t capture the spirit to me like they did in the first film. I already listened to the soundtrack a second time and I am not left with whimsy, I’m not wanting to hear and sing a long over and over.

Again, overall, the plot is okay. It has some good parts, some lame parts, some rushed parts, and some tacked on parts. Some of the Elsa and Anna scenes are really strong, but the film overall feels a lot weaker. And that is a shame. It will still probably win an Oscar for animated awards because the Academy is usually really lame though.

2 out of 4.

Shazam!

Wham, bam, thank you maam, Shazam is crammed with ham, rams, and not giving a damn.

Since the DCEU has begun, it has looked very bleak. They have had great people to pick their movies apart to make fantastic trailers, and almost never lived up to them. The closest up to this point [coming from someone who will get around to seeing Aquaman…eventually] was Wonder Woman, which had an actual good story and visuals and felt great. Until the end where it decided it needed to go full DCEU with its final reveal/battle scene to end it pretty shitty.

But Shazam! No, they brought in Zachary Levi, and everyone knows that Levi is not serious. His face is too goofy for serious. He would need a beard for that. They are now going for a Superhero comedy. Marvel has those, and people like Marvel.

DC wants that Marvel money, damn it, so they are going to start with their former Captain Marvel himself.

Spark
And this time he´s also part Storm!

Billy Baston (Asher Angel) is your typical foster kid. He is mad at the world, he wants to find his real mom, and thinks it is easy to not care about the regular stuff in life, like school, homework, or bath time.

Long story short, Billy is found to be pure of heart by some ancient Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and given some ancient Greek magical powers once he says the words Shazam! And he also becomes an adult (Zachary Levi), strong, and all of the basic super hero stuff.

His foster brother (Jack Dylan Grazer) also knows the truth about his new powers, and given his comic book knowledge, is there to help him through this change. Can they use these powers for good? Where are the villains?

It turns out the villain is Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), who has a kid was given the power but failed the test. This made him lose his family and since then he has spent his life looking for them, gaining wealth and power in the real world. He wants the power for himself, at whatever cost.

And you know, Billy just wants to find his mom, and be liked, and not care about any of this responsibility. Oh golly.

Also starring Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Grace Fulton, and Jovan Armand.

Drink
Got an adult body? Time to drink a lot of soda!

Shazam has a lot of heart and humor, things that seem to have been missing from the DCEU. And that extended universe has slowed, slowed down. I haven´t even seen Aquaman from last year, and Shazam is the only entry for 2019. The whole group of movies needs to rethink its existence and how to put out films that do not feel like crap on arrival (COA).

Levi is probably the perfect choice of kid in adult body and walks that line perfectly. It always brought a smile to my face and felt incredibly accurate.

The foster home was wonderful, and the sad scenes were the right level of sad. A lot of emotions in this movie.

And it still had some awkward scenes. I thought the entire intro with the kid future villain was awkward. The other dimension or whatever with the powers? It looked cheap and fake. The ending had some cool fan service and implications for the future, but also didn´t have a lot of high stakes.

Strong made an okay bad guy in this one, with the board room scene in particular being a great insight to evil.

DCEU needs to realize this was a good start in fixing its image. Not every film should be like Shazam, that would not make sense. But to balance the humor with the dark, to not just be a gross CGI fest, and all of that? Here is hoping 2020 and onward is better.

3 out of 4.