set never changed. There were no background replacements, meaning there was never a reason to look back around. There was also a lack of engaging choreography for a production that had a lot of actors moving around. These factors helped to translate the experience to the more edited version that is now available.
The bulk of my entertainment started to manifest after the first hour. While that first part is fine, the momentum really picks up afterward. There is much more drama in the second half, and the quality of the music goes up as well. What really ties everything together is the recurring pieces of music that narratively build up characters and their motivations. When the curtain call happens, I looked back at and appreciated my time getting to experience the musical. It earned my time, and I felt good having watched it.
Hamilton is a great watching experience despite the more focused approach. While the music is good, it was the performance of Daveed Diggs and the small appearances of Jonathan Groff that made me believe in seeing it rather than listening to it. Aside from the historical aspects, it's a well-told biography that's engaging and keeps you interested. It earns the runtime, and you can finally understand why people wouldn't stop raving over it, though you might not end up as enamored as they did.
The best thing to come out since quarantine started
While the narrative does ultimately work, there are quite a few speed bumps along the way. The opening and ending of the movie don't belong as they utilize uninspired tropes that make you feel like your watching a completely different thing. Then there are two separate moments where the score is overbearing and ruins some genuine heart to hearts or dispirits the final act. These problems all play into a bigger issue that goes beyond Pixar films. The act of cutting off emotional resonance with a joke or music cue is used to relieve the audience of brunting any emotional work. It's a modern problem that gives viewers a pass as filmmakers only want people to cry at the very end. I wish those moments could be given room to breathe.
Pixar has always seemed more interested in telling stories than chasing digital superiority. Unlike recent Disney Animation movies, there was never an instance where I thought I was looking at something real. The more stylized approach works here as the fantasy setting ends up validating itself by the end. Even though photorealism isn't achieved here, the animation technology on display is no slouch. The hair on characters melds the abundant strands with a course look that makes it the best hair I've seen in animation. Magical effects are wonderfully rendered and realized.
Onward is the best thing from Pixar since Up. It has the heart, it looks great, and my entire theater clapped... twice. It's a safe bet to take the whole family to when it comes out on March 6, and everyone will have a good time. Children and adults laughed, awed, and the adults teared up. I hope this is a sign that Pixar will go back to making moving animated stories that hit the mark. Not only would audiences finally be going to movies that are worth their time, but the whole industry would benefit too.
I hope this isn't an Incredibles 2 moment where I really like it then realize its not that good
The Rise of Skywalker is offensive because it was boring; it's terrible because the plot doesn't make sense. You don't need to bring up the rest of the series to prove this is a bad movie as it dies on its own merits. For the first third, I was having flashbacks to 6 Underground and how the continuous cutting and nonstop pace made it hard to settle in for the over two-hour runtime. The Rise of Skywalker is in a hurry to get itself over and done with as its breakneck pace never slowed down. Characters are continually jumping to their next objective as so much grown has to be covered.
While trying to erase everything that The Last Jedi stood for and having its own story, The Rise of Skywalker doesn't take the time to get everything right. It's sloppy, rushed, and offensive. In the place of substance, it relies on blatant uses of nostalgia in a weaponized form. Continually using music from the original trilogy to try and cover up everything wrong with the movie. I would go, "I remember liking this song, and it meaning something." It continually mines past films as a cheap party trick, and when it finally gets to its own story, all hell breaks loose.
The villain in this turd on fire is ridiculous. The way all of the antagonists are setup is a tragedy. The leaps in logic for Rey and her abilities in the force are unfounded. What ends up happening to certain characters is complete bullshit. Pretending like this is ok, that it would be fine to accept what has happened as normal, would be a mistake.
It surprised me that I wasn't angry while watching this movie. I usually can get irritated if a film gets on my nerves, but that didn't happen here. I think JJ Abrams's greatest accomplishment is that the presentation is good enough, so the only emotion I had was boredom. I was utterly bored, and none of the humor worked for me. Some will say that this is a hilarious movie, but if the stakes in your film don't matter and I don't care what's happening, then I can't laugh when forced humor is thrown at me. I genuinely laughed on three separate occasions, which is very low for the sheer volume of jokes that is put in every scene.
The actors tried to do a good job with the material that they were given. I think they were collateral damage in the decisions that were being made. They, along with fans, were wronged so they should not be blamed. Just because their characters suck, doesn't mean its their fault. Please do not harass them online for the failure that is this movie.
I can't believe I'm about to say this. Rise of Skywalker is the worst movie in the Star Wars franchise. While there are tons of technical and presentation problems in the prequels, there were still aspects to them that breathed life into the franchise. The Rise of Skywalker is devoid of any magic; it doesn't feel like the same thing. I can't think of one scene that you could watch on YouTube, and all of the music is ripped out of the old movies. This is bottom barrel stuff, and I couldn't watch it again. Star Wars is dead as a movie-going experience, and while I might have to see the eventual follow-up to review, I won't take pleasure in doing it.
There is no reason to see the movie if you are not a die hard fan, don't waste your time
With the music hindered, it was all on the story to keep the movie going. Infamously, Frozen was majorly changed at the last minute since Elsa was supposed to be a villain; this is not brought up as a vote of confidence. The level at which Frozen 2 fails at telling a compelling narrative is massive. It starts by retconning aspects of the first film and continues to snowball (heh) from there. Anna goes from having goals in 2013 to being a passive character now. Events just happen to her, and she barely participates. Not a single character has anything resembling an arc; they're all static, unchanged from the beginning to the end. The movie tries to hide its shortcomings by heavy-handedly shoving paper-thin character motivations in your face. Exposition dumps group together with characters always telling you how they feel; show don't tell should be the most obvious rule to follow.
From a big-picture perspective, the film stumbles as it tries to set up mysteries and lessons early on. These would only work if everything wasn't so obvious and if the movie didn't keep referencing them every other scene. It also has one of the most bizarre third acts I've ever seen, lasting a max of 20 minutes. Right as a huge revelation is revealed, and characters are put in difficult situations, everything resolves in a snap. I can't elaborate as it would contain spoilers, but the rate at which all hope is lost turns to everything is alright flashes by.
Frozen 2 isn't inventive enough either. There are three separate references to "Do You Want to Build a Snowman"; THREE. It takes ideas, aspects, and structure from the first film so often that it felt like Deja Vu. Some might mischaracterize this as nostalgia, but movies have been struggling to spawn sequels for decades. Even the lightweight queerbaiting is back, only more prominent than before.
Two things did put a smile on my face, the first being the animation. There were so many little touches that added to the overall character, so many references where you blink, and you'll miss them. Some are character movements, and others are presentation nods, it's wild how many there are. The second thing is the texturing and rendering technology on display. Disney proves once again that no one is close to achieving the level of fidelity that they can reach. Some landscapes and backgrounds look photorealistic. It honestly is impressive stuff and blew my mind each time I saw it.
Frozen 2 is pretty bad. It was at its best during the first act since it played to the brand's strength. Olaf was able to make me laugh, and there was a budding curiosity on what adventure the cast was going to embark on. Once that all came crashing down, my head was propped up by my hand as I sighed my way through the rest of the runtime. There was clapping when the credits rolled so you might enjoy it, but I cannot recommend it.
The music during the credits are the songs sung by professionals and its great
values, Toy Story 4 takes a page from the first movie and centers on Woody. Most of the pretense of being a toy is ripped away as a story about moving on and deciding when it's right to focus on yourself takes center stage.
The change of pace was the main factor of enjoyment for me. Cutting out the beloved cast and pushing new characters into the spotlight broke the series from its holding pattern. Nothing is lost with the absence of favorites though as keeping an emotional center grounds the experience. Not having to divide screen time across a large cast allows for more time with Woody, cementing his hold on the franchise.
With all of that praise out of the way, I can tell you that this is not a perfect film. It lacks a strong sense of energy to propel the plot forward. For a movie so reliant on its ability to stir emotions, this is counter-intuitive to making you feel them. Instead of developing strong relationships between characters, it leans heavily on the soundtrack to get a rise out of the audience. The constant battle to keep you entertained is sabotaged with a slower pace, stagnating the overall feeling of the film.
Toy Story 4 relies heavily on the viewer to fill in blanks, hoping they had seen the three previous entries. In its attempt to tell a smaller story, it discovers something new but doesn't have the juice to make it compelling. Too reliant on old tricks and the use of too many crutches, it stumbles and ends up being an average movie. Sure, Disney is the only studio able to afford the amazing rendering technology to make features look this good, but the loss to Spider-Man speaks volumes. All of that doesn't matter though as movie-goers will come out in droves to see it. Toy Story 4 is not for kids, its made for the adults who have grown with the property, and tells a story for them. Hilariously, it's still one of the best movies in theaters, so you don't have to wait for it on streaming.
Please, no more Toy Story movies
the ominous tone of the original but works for the more upbeat version of the story. His impressive streak of musical numbers continues with each song retooled to be more fun. They are accompanied by unexpected visuals interwoven with classic iconography which makes each musical sequence pop. It helps that all the iconic songs are still here and keep most of the charm from the original. Apart from Smith, the other songs are good enough to stoke the nostalgia flames but never recapture the whimsical nature of those sequences.
Now here is where everything starts to fall apart. The first thing I noticed was the city of Agrabah didn't feel real. I could tell each little set was stitched together in wide shots to create a bigger city. The sets themselves didn't feel lived in as they were too clean. You can't show dirty homeless people begging on the street in the cleanest city ever seen in a desert, it just doesn't work. The off-putting feeling bleeds into the actors as well. The most egregious is sadly Aladdin, played by Mena Massoud. He doesn't work in this movie, and although by the end you get used to it, he always seems out-of-place. Its a completely different story when it comes to Marwan Kenzari who plays Jafar. It wasn't the acting that made his character more of a caricature but the direction that he was given. The plot gives Jafar a back story so he can seem more like a delusional evil man. It's weird how the live action version of the character seems more like a cartoon than the animated version does.
I also have to point out that this is the least Guy Ritchie film I have ever seen. Apart from the opening chase sequence, the film seems tamer than anything he has ever done before. It looks like the Disney executives had a lot of say in how the movie would come together. Even Ritchie's iconic speed ramp shots are used sparingly, only ever really used in completely CGI compositions. I don't know if all of this is good or bad, it was just weird going to see a Guy Ritchie film and not seeing his flare for most of it.
There were more technical things I noticed as well. The first time the audience is officially introduced to Princess Jasmine, the shot is out of focus. It's not a stylistic choice, you can't see anything in the center of the screen. It's a wide shot so it doesn't make sense for it to be blurry. Another thing I noticed was the new music. The score had new songs that used motifs from the original soundtrack. It was a little off-putting to hear the melody from A Whole New World that would transition into a completely different composition.
Overall, I am pretty indifferent to the movie. It shocked me that Will Smith is the best part of it. All of his musical numbers top all the others and even when he's not big and blue, he still makes it work. That is in stark contrast to the rest of his costars that either seem out of place or chew the scenery a little too hard. Then there's the story setup that makes key plot transitions clunky. The scene before A Whole New world does not make sense for that chain of events. Plus, I really wanted Jafar to turn into a giant snake like he does in the original, but they changed events so that wouldn't work. I guess if you need to watch something unoffensive this is a sure-fire bet. If you have access to the original, that will probably be a better time than this.
I think its a 6 instead of a 5 because I was entertained enough, though your mileage may vary
to set up stakes and drive home that this was it. That Thanos’ promise of a better universe didn’t come to pass and that there was still of a glimmer of hope left. You got to see how characters were coping and fighting through trauma which made you care more. The amount of character work done is really surprising because the sheer amount of it has never been seen in this universe and might never happen again.
Endgame is not perfect though, far from it in fact. I’ve seen a lot of people commenting on how this is the best superhero movie ever made, or how it will be impossible to top. There are so many problems that it amazes me that these claims are taken seriously. There are many moments when events aren’t properly explained and need to be expanded on but are left alone. Sometimes this is done to set up the Disney+ streaming shows but other times its just a lapse in logic. There is also a problem with an absurd amount of references. There are so many jokes referencing other MCU movies that it becomes really distracting. For some of these references, it's not even the first time they have been used. Remember in Civil War when Captain America tells Tony “I can do this all day” when they are fighting at the end. That same line is used again here in reference to when Steve Rodgers says in his origin movie. These moments are sprinkled in throughout the entire runtime so they will never let up.
The music was fine in Endgame. There wasn’t anything special about it here and was actually pretty bland except for two moments. Other than that though, it seems like the slight improvement that was in Infinity War was reduced back to its original quality. There was nothing special about the cinematography here either, it was all pretty common stuff that you have seen before in Russo directed movies.
So it all comes down to how long you’ve been paying attention to the MCU or how much fun you are going to have listening to characters talk to one another. People are saying this movie has immense rewatch value but I would disagree. I feel like I could see this movie once more in my life for entertainment and never see it again. It was definitely a satisfying time at the movies and am really surprised it came out this good. Yes, the hype is way overblown, but when has that not been?
A surprising amount of untapped potential in ******
The whole point of these scenes is to make you laugh. Sure, not all the jokes land, but it works. The Captain Marvel specific humor had me suspicious of what their intent was. Towards the beginning, there were many moments that were supposed to be funny, but no one in my theater laughed. It came across as trying to get the audience on board with having a female as the main character.
There are seldom moments in superhero movies where the character is made to look inexperienced or foolish. In Iron Man, he invents his own stuff and you see him have fun testing out his new technology. Thor smashes a beer mug because he is from a different culture and Star-Lord gets called fat to build up how ripped Thor is. Carol Danvers is silly and lighthearted while fighting enemies. Struggling to fight effectively with a couple of gags thrown in for good measure, but these were the parts no one laughed at. It came off as slightly uncomfortable because jokes should tell you more about the character; here, it was used to try and make her seem more relatable. Carol Danvers is a lot of things, but relatable is not one of them.
The story that Captain Marvel tries to tell, doesn't recognize the big shoes it has been told to fill. How do you get excited about the 21st entry in a series; how about a bunch of throwbacks? This movie suffers from a problem the Star Wars Prequels suffered from, but was more potent in Solo: A Star Wars Story. I didn’t need to know where Han Solo got his lucky dice or the spoiler version of that for this movie. I don't need to see how every little detail came to be in the universe. Every little unknown doesn't need an answer.
Speaking of Star Wars, there were a couple of sequences that reminded me of the prequels. At one point, I thought I was watching a pod racing scene while another was similar to the shortest space battle ever put in a big budget movie. The battle consisted of about two shots, one of which is in the trailer, while the other makes me think of the space battle above Naboo.
To pull off all of these action pieces, lots of CG was used to varying degrees of success. By the end, there were many scenes that looked fake; there was no denying the whole sequence you were seeing was all made in a computer. When the characters got to fight in person, the beginning of the movie used the ‘far away’ trick. This is where you see all the action at a distance, so stunt performers can perform without putting the talent in harm's way. This allows for separate close up shots to be spliced into the sequence, making it seem like the actor was really doing the fight choreography.
Other than some good jokes and some nice synth music, Captain Marvel doesn't succeed in being a good movie. I saw it on opening night where people would be the most excited to see it, and everyone thought that it was fine. Not "wow that was good" or "that was solid", just fine. Some people will complain that Carol Danvers didn't grow as a character, but I didn't need that. Learning more about the character was discovery enough, and Nick Fury picks up more slack than one person should be allowed to carry. This movie continues the trend of Marvel just not caring about fan theories, providing little fan service. Any major effects you thought this movie might have on the larger MCU continuity should be forgotten.
Wonder Woman was a better character in a better movie, DC finally won one
The rest of it fell into a few different categories. There were large stretches of runtime that bored me out of my mind. Creatively bankrupt ideas or just uncompelling plot points littered this movie. If I wasn't being bored to death, I was cringing at how many references the movie tried to show off. I don't want to see Miranda Sings react to being disconnected from the internet, I don't want to see a cameo by Fortnite, or how to make money online by being an internet celebrity. And the most damaging thing about this movie came down to it simply not having a good story.
Some people will say that movies for children shouldn't be complex, that they need to be easy for kids to understand. Pixar is a pretty good example of how this sentiment is wrong, along with Disney Animations' previous movies like Zootopia. Having characters run around for an hour and a half doing nothing but showing off all the ways websites were turned into places, isn't a plot. There is barely a story in the movie to criticize. The end of it makes you wait for something important to happen, and even then, it was an homage to a different movie.
Ralph Breaks the Internet doesn't use its runtime to build its characters up. In place of that, it has its characters react to things in a very ‘internet’ way. Whether it's Ralph doing a hot pepper challenge, Vanellope watching a "Which Princess Would Be Your Best Friend" quiz, or dealing with hateful online comments. It seems like content that would literally be made on the internet, not in a Hollywood Production.
When the movie does get around to developing its characters, it does so both hastily and obviously. The movie never lets characters sit with their emotions; it never lets the audience brood with them. Instead, there always has to be an immediate response to everything that happens. Plus, the way the main problem manifests itself is such a movie cliche at this point and it wasn’t even done in an interesting way. Having a bunch of small things group together and form one big monster is something I do not want to see more of.
I was looking forward to enjoying Ralph Breaks the Internet because I liked the first movie so much. A better version of "The Emoji Movie" was what I was expecting, but in the end, I only got a marginally better movie. I guess if you have kids you could take them to see this movie since one in my theater never stopped talking. Overall, this movie was a pretty big let down and the worst movie Disney Animations has made since transitioning to 3D animation.
Being hip with the kids is cool, right?