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April 8, 2018

Movie: Coco (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:18 pm

imageI generally do not like movies about dead people and skeletons and even movies admired by people like The Corpse Bride or The Nightmare Before Christmas leave me cold. I am aware that many people loved and love these movies, but I am only talking about my personal preferences here. So it is with reluctance and not much of an expectation about my enjoying this movie did I go see this movie.

 

What also motivated me is that, when the plot is right, what an amazing work Pixar does with its characters. Who can be not moved by their best –  Up which both moves and delights you, the Invincibles which creates an entire new look on superheroes, Monster’s Inc which is such a classic and many more? Even if some of their movies were not really up there (Inside Out comes to mind in the latter category).

 

I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is this movie a thoroughly enjoyable ‘dead people’ movie but in fact one of the best animated movies of recent times, period. Brilliantly animated, brilliantly narrated, woven together with a nice surprise near the middle of the tale, it is purely scintillating and keeps you absorbed all the way through. Lovely, wonderful work.

 

Let us look at the story. Imelda Rivera’s wife is distraught when her husband leaves her and her three year old daughter Coco to pursue a music career. He promises to be back soon and take them when he has found his feet. When he never returns, her anxiety turns to burning fury and she banishes all of his memorabilia from the house. She even cuts out his head from the photo of their family with little Coco in the hand.  All ancestors (including the headless husband – since Imelda’s only photo is the one where she is there) are present in the annual ancestor’s day so that they may be remembered. Another banishment from the house is any kind of music in the house, so bitter is she.

 

Ninety six years pass (and the story really begins here). Coco now is an old lady who is frail and is nearly at the end of her life. Her grandson Miguel, who is now twelve, finds himself loving music which attracts him irresistibly and is desperate to hide it from his own family. He idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz, the singing sensation a long time ago (during Coco’s time).

 

One day, out of curiosity, he tries to take the photo of his headless father and breaks the frame. Terrified, he gets rid of the frame and pulls out the photo. He discovers the photo is folded to fit to the frame. When he opens it he sees that even in the family photo, his dad was holding a guitar.

 

When he later goes to visit Ernesto’s museum, he discovers to his amazement that the unique pattern on the guitar was the same as the one hanging in Ernesto’s museum and realizes with a shock that he must be Ernesto’s great grandson!

 

Miguel is now determined to enter the talent show on the Day of the Dead, a Mexican celebration of the ancestors. He has no guitar, though. He decided to steal Ernesto’s guitar for the ceremony but falls down in the attempt. When he finally retrieves it, and goes to the ceremony, no one there can see him! The only people who can are dead ancestors who visit the place (as they are allowed to, only on the Day of the Dead). He realizes that he is now partly in that place. He is being punished for stealing Ernesto’s guitar. He finds himself slowly turning into a skeleton. Before sunrise, if he does not get the blessing from one of the dead ancestors of his, he will fully turn into a skeleton and cannot ever go back home.

 

What is a dog doing in the posters? It is the only one who can see him in this altered state and also follow him wherever he goes.

 

His great grandmother Imelda finds him there (glorious, mind boggling animation to the Land of the Dead and beyond; Pixar really knows how to amp it way, way up!) and offers to give him pardon on one condition: He should give up music forever. He refuses and runs away, in hot pursuit by his own family to catch and convince him. He makes an ally of a down on his luck dead skeleton Hector, who promises to take him to Ernesto, if he takes Hector’s picture to his daughter when Miguel goes back: Only those who are remembered in earth can go there on the Day of the Dead and Hector is afraid that the only person alive will forget him and he will fade away. Flashes of such fading already are occurring and he is completely frazzled. Miguel agrees and they both go in search of Ernesto.

 

When Hector attempts to double cross Miguel and send him back to Miguel’s (dead) family, Miguel escapes him and meets Ernesto who accepts him as his great grandson. But Hector appears there, and accuses him of stealing everything from Hector – his songs, his tunes, and also of poisoning Hector. Ernesto captures and jails them both, and also takes the only hope of Hector, his picture, away from Hector.

 

The twist in the story and how Miguel wins the affections of his father and also reunites the family is the rest of the story. It may be obvious to some of you but there is a massive twist in the story that makes you gasp and you realize that the entire plot is cleverly constructed to aid the misdirection that they intend you to make.

 

Lovely, lovely. Amazing dialogues, heartwarming scenes – all characters ring true and you can identify with every one of them. Imelda, Miguel, Coco, everyone really.

 

One of the brilliant movies from Pixar, on par with some of their best. Well done!

 

 

9/ 10

 

– – Krishna

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March 18, 2018

Movie : Ferdinand (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 6:57 pm

imageWell, the animation is superb and the characterization, in parts, is not bad at all. It has all the (now formulaec) elements that tug your heart.  A giant but gentle bull that eschews the family tradition for which his father and ancestors lived and wants to find a ‘better way’. The evil bull that is both jealous of the strength of the central character (yes, it is a bull; yes, it is Ferdinand) and contemptuous of the pusillanimity of the beast.

 

It has cuteness in the form of a girl who loves Ferdinand and sees into his soul and not just the frighteningly big physical form. It has a crazy goat called Lupe that is so endearing (adorable voice work by Kate McKinnon) that helps him. It has features where he wins over previously antagonistic fellow bulls one by one.

 

Still, it does not rise to the level of Frozen or other great movies. There is something that is missing in the total package. At least for me. Don’t get me wrong; this is definitely a good movie to watch but is it a great movie to remember for a long time? There I have my doubts.

 

This is based on a series of children’s books. Ferdinand, as a young calves are just dying to see which is the next bull that would be lucky enough to be picked to fight a matador. When Ferdinand’s dad is chosen, he is thrilled and waits for him to come back victorious but the dad never comes back. Ferdinand cannot fathom why.

 

Now, he also has a gentle heart, trying to protect a young sapling on the grounds from the other boisterous bulls and is bullied by other calves, primarily Valiente, a ‘bull’y and his sidekicks Gaupo and Bones.

 

Finally, when he gets the chance, he runs away and finds a lovely family – consisting of a florist called Juan and his daughter Nina and their dog Paco – who bring him up as their own.

 

Ferdinand goes to the flower festival every year with them and loves it but when he grows big, Nina tells him he cannot come with them because he is too big. He disobeys and sneaks in by himself, only to be caught and sent back to his original ranch.

 

The rest of the story describes how he copes there, how he himself gets picked by the ranch to fight the most famous matador of all times and how it all ends nicely.

 

You get to meet other characters along the way : the three hedgehogs (who try to teach Ferdinand how to ‘stealthily’ go across the ranch in a hilarious sequence), three horses who seem to have a French accent and snooty manners to match, and many others.

 

There is also a tongue in cheek reference when Ferdinand goes into a China shop and tries to tiptoe around a half blind old lady minding the shop.

 

As I said, not a bad movie – just a fun ride that is worth watching if you don’t mind yet another movie with clichés and growing up and making friends among strangers.

 

6/10

– – Krishna

January 6, 2018

Movie: Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 6:22 pm

imageI went to this movie with lowered expectations. After all, Despicable Me, the original, was phenomenally entertaining and when I heard that they were making a sequel, I thought they could not possibly top that. The original story had a tight beginning, middle and a nice ending, where Gru, the evil mastermind, finally decides to give up evil when he falls under the influence of the kids whom he adopts. It also had a crazy villain who was a nutcase and the fine twist in it was revealed when we discover whose son the villain was. All of it nicely tied into a neat package, where no loose ends were there to continue the story right?

The movie makers proved me wrong. Despicable Me 2 was even better. They upped the ante, the minions were literally riotously hilarious. Gru met Lucy, an amazing agent and fell in love. The only fly in the ointment was that the villain seemed to be a little soppy compared to the first. This was overcome with the help of the drug that caused superhuman (but evil) powers in whoever took it. Nice and lovely and I was impressed.

Then came the spinoff movie Minions. This is where everything hit the rock bottom. There was no coherent story, the characters aimlessly wandered, the villains (yes, multiple) were boring and tiring. The whole story seemed pointless.

So my conclusion was that these people have now run out of ideas and I went to see the third instalment with low expectations. Which was as well because, while this was a bit of a pleasant surprise, it is no match for the first two. A new character has to be introduced in Gru’s life (in addition to the mandatory supervillain) and here Gru is reunited with his more successful twin Dru, who is in awe of Gru’s awesome evil genius (from his past life of course) and wants Gru to join him on one last superheist.

 

We also have an equally funky supervillain, a child star has been who is so upset to have lost attention that he decides to take revenge on everyone by, yes, dominating the world.

There are some cute capers where the twins (one with full blond hair and the other… well, you know. But overall, it goes round in the comic path well-trodden by the previous installments of the franchaise.

Cute, but not great.

 

6/10

 

– – Krishna

July 16, 2017

Movie : Wreck It Ralph (2012)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:42 pm

imageCall me simplistic but I think I am easily pleased.

 

This movie in all rights should not appeal to me. It is a spin off on old 80’s game characters and the plot is a hackneyed one that has been written and told millions of times to young children. A bad character in a game who does not like being bad and wants to be good. Oh so old.

 

But, here is the thing. The movie appeals to me. The dialog, the sequences and the composition all blend seamlessly, and though it does not have the voice talents of A-list stars (with due apologies for John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman), the emotions and actions and dialog all hang together to create a pleasant experience.

 

Mind you, I say pleasant, not spectacular.

 

Ralph is jealous of Fix It Felix, the good guy in the game. He, Ralph, is always wrecking things and creating havoc whereas Felix is the epitome of the good guy, who can fix anything.

 

Ralph seeks help in Bad Anonymous, and explains how his self esteem is low after 30 years of being bad. He does not want to be bad anymore but other members advise him that he is designed to be bad, and if he turns good, he will wreck the game he inhabits.

 

He is determined to win a medal for heroism and thereby prove his good intentions and skills, Ralph sees a chance when he meets a soldier in a bar who is from the game Hero’s Duty whose nerves are shot hunting Bugs in the game. When Ralph hears that there is a medal at the end, he takes the soldier’s armor and his place in the game.

 

The story gets confusing from here. Ralph skips from game to game while in Fix It, they find that Ralph is missing. The game is frozen with an Out of Order sign and all the game characters are terrified that if Ralph does not come back, the plug will be (literally) pulled and that they will all lose their lives. They go in search of Ralph.

 

After a ton of cat and mouse chase, Ralph finally teams up with another character from a different game. She is Vanellope. They together get the medal from a racing game.

 

Well, there is a ton more that happens but it is all too episodic to narrate. Consider the release of the evil Cy-bugs in an accident and their getting into Candy Land and sugar rush makes them multiply – they have the capacity to wreck all games. Consider Vanellope being a glitch in the game herself and not part of the original game. Consider Felix on his hunt for Ralph, being imprisoned by the Mad King.

 

All said and done, Ralph finally appreciates that the work he does is very much appreciated and he does not have to be a good guy to get kudos.

 

Nicely told, better than it sounds here.  6/10

 

– – Krishna

 

 

July 7, 2017

Mega Mind (2010)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 10:38 pm

imageI know.  I know… the movie is an old one. I also know that I have not spelled the name as the producers spelled it, but I prefer this version.

What an interesting movie. I will be honest. I generally do not like the brand of comedy favoured by Will Farrell but this is one movie of his that I enjoyed. The reason is that it adopts an interesting trick that has been later followed in many other movies like Despicable Me, to quote only one example: it does not take itself very seriously and just provides a fun ride for you to go along with.

 

Consider this: An alien planet is being destroyed and two babies are saved in two spaceships – the two babies are all that survived from that planet. (This is not a logical movie so don’t ask why they did not send a bigger ship with more people or any of the hundred questions that may occur to you. Remember? Just go along for the ride). You would expect them to be identical in features etc, right? Wrong! One of them looks like a strong hunk, and is the superhero (called Metro Man). He is played by our own Hollywood Hunk Brad Pitt (ie after the baby grows up). The other baby is not strong in body, is blue with a bloated head and is not even good looking but a man with phenomenal mental powers. Since the shallow world of ours hated him and mistreated him almost from childhood, he turned into a Supervillain Mega Mind (Will Farrell)

 

They both reside in the same city. (Metro City, which if, of course, in America – where else?). Metro Mind is of course, adored and the city even opens a museum for him. Mega Mind has had enough. He gatecrashes into the opening ceremony, with the help of his assistant – well, it is a fish in a bowl bolted onto a robot’s body. As an aside, the assistant is called Minion. The most interesting thing is that Despicable Me (the original of the sequence) was released in 2010 and so was this movie. So is the name Minion chosen in both a true coincidence?

 

However, on with our tale. He came to get his revenge and lures Metro Man into a sealed lab by kidnapping Metro Man’s girlfriend Roxanne Ritchie (played by Tina Fay). He tries to destroy the entire museum and so kill Metro Man who has been his enemy and envy all his life but the stupid laser takes too long to heat up.  Just when he feared that Metro Man had escaped, Metro Man finds that the copper plating of the entire building prevents him from getting out and he gets burnt down to his skeleton. Roxanne escapes in the melee.

 

Mega Mind is thrilled. No one can save his victims in Metro City anymore. He has a free hand. But he finds that he has lost the will to torment. There is no fun in tormenting without a worthy opponent like, say, the Metro Man. It is sooo boring to be in charge of everything with nothing going wrong, no surprises whatever.  He mourns Metro Man’s death and goes to the museum to pay his respects. There he meets Roxanne (she did not see Mega Mind when he kidnapped her earlier) and posing as a curator of the museum, strikes up a friendship with her. Roxanne is bitter about “this Mega Mind” who destroyed Metro Man and hopes that a new hero will rise to take Metro Man’s place because ‘heroes are created, not born’. That gives Mega Mind a terrific idea. He uses Metro Man’s DNA to create a serum that will turn anyone into a super hero!

 

Meanwhile, Mega Mind finds Roxanne refreshing and begins to hope that he can leave the life of crime if there is a chance of a life with her. She is funny, charming and most amazingly, seems not to hate him! But he still needs to create a superhero with the serum before retiring.

 

When he is ready with it and pondering whom to turn to a super hero worthy of opposing, the serum accidentally is ingested by Hal Stewart, the most annoying photographic assistant of Roxanne, who has a crush on her to boot but is completely ignored by her. Mega Mind, seeing him ingest a serum, decides that he is The One and trains him (disguised as Space Dad).

 

When Minion leaves because he cannot comprehend that super villains wanting to be good people, and when Roxanne discovers who he really is and rejects him, the universe comes crashing down on Mega Mind and he goes on an evil rampage, true to his Super Villain form. He expects Titan to come to the rescue of the town but when he does not, goes to Titan’s home to find out why! Titan is bored of being good and wants to be a supervillain and almost kills Mega Mind when he protests.

 

Mega Mind remembers that copper was, so to speak,  Metro Man’s Kryptanite, and surrounds Titan with copper but it seems to have no effect on him. There is a new supervillain rampaging Metro City and there is no help at all to be found. He persuades Roxanne to take him to her ex boyfriend’s pod to see if they can glean any other clues to contain Titan when they discover a big twist regarding Metro Man.

 

The movie slowly makes you love Mega Mind and at the end, you rejoice when he finally vanquishes Titan and saves the city. (A small twist at the end can be revealed, though – he gets his own museum now!)

 

A lovely movie, well crafted, well animated, very intelligent and tugs all the right spots in your heart.

 

8/10

–  –  Krishna

May 31, 2017

Movie : Sing (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:16 am

image.jpgInteresting movie. It is so unlike the trailers that it takes you by surprise a bit. Let me explain before someone says ‘What the hell do you mean? It is exactly like the trailers’.  Yes, the animation is as good as the trailers, the story is about music, which comes out loud and clear in the trailers (heck, look at the title of the movie and you know what it is about), the humour is there right through the movie, as trailers promise. And I did not mean that the surprise I got was a nasty or negative surprise. I did not expect to see the movie as two movies in one. That is all.

 

On the surface is all that animation, humour, and crazy antics of the animals. The animation is top class and the expressions on all those animals are top class. However, there is a parallel story of passion for music, dreams turning into dust and then rebuilt again from those ashes to make a sensational success. The story about how ordinary people trapped in their ordinary lives rise to extraordinary heights animated by a single passion that unites them, a kind of diversity story where different ‘animals’ come together in harmony to produce something that is classic; how seemingly annoying characters could and will have a heart of gold. That story could have been told with people as actors and would still have been beautiful. With animation of this class, it does lift it to another plane and makes this movie memorable long after you have seen it.

 

The base story is simplistic and even comes across as a children’s tale. There is not much here that cannot be summed up in a paragraph but what makes it great are the little nuances and embellishments they have poured into the thing. A simple typing error generates dreams of fame in diverse people and the ordinary auditions are moved to a higher plane by the extraordinary circumstances of each family and what they have to do in order to be a part of something great – when the something that they aspired to is not even what they thought it was, but a small time audition for a small time musical.

 

The story is about Buster Moon, a koala bear, voiced by Mathew McConaughey. His assistant is the hilarious Miss Crawley (voiced by director Garth Jennings). They hit upon auditioning for a musical to revive their flagging theatre. The various characters who audition, the trials and tribulations, the ruin they face, the disillusionment of the people who came to sing when they realize how small (or fake) the prize money is, is the rest of the story.

 

The fun is in the characters themselves. The brash and loud but  stylish Gunter  and the shy housewife Rosita (both pigs) and the husband Norman of Rosita who does not even notice her struggling with their 25 children. You have Johnny the gorilla who is encouraged by his father to be part of his gang of looters but wants only to sing; the more talented Ash (porcupine, voiced by Scarlett Johanssen) whose boyfriend Lance, who has less talent always ignores and insults her at every turn. Meena the Elephant sings like a diva but does not know how good her own voice is. There is the selfish Mike the mouse.

 

I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who can get past the preconceived notion of watching a simple children’s story embellished with good characters, art and wit.

 

7/ 10

– – Krishna

 

 

 

February 25, 2017

Movie : Moana (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:15 pm

imageDisney has figured out the magic formula to make hits. In 2016, according to the trade magazines, all top six hits were from the Disney stable. It of course takes a lot of money, especially in an animated movie like this.

 

This time they have gone to Polynesian culture for inspiration and the plot, really, is very simple. A Pacific Island nation has withdrawn into itself and has forgotten, and even fears, to do what should naturally come to them : go out into the sea on boats. Why? That is indeed the story.

 

The way the story unfolds is amazing. Moana, the young girl from the tribe seems to be unafraid of the sea and the water, unlike everyone else, with the exception of the crazy old grandmother.  The island of Te Fiti (What? No I did not say Tahiti, I said Te Fiti.) lost its “heart”, a stone with the spiral shape, to the arrogant and greedy demi-god called Maui. (What? No, not the island Maui, the demi-god Maui.)

 

When the desolation that this created threatens to overwhelm even the island where Moana lives, she wants to go after Maui and persuade him to return the heart to the island. In true Disney’s style, Maui can become any creature, a hawk, a lizard or himself and he uses all these to spectacular effort when he steals the heart of Te Fiti.

 

The other cute thing is that all of his life experiences become tattoos on his body and sometimes the tattoos move to tell the story.

 

Here in the movie, the sea (water) is a living thing that protects Moana and is an ally.

 

Like I said, the story itself is simplistic. She goes and meets the arrogant Maui and forces him to understand (and respect) her. We are introduced to his past and why he is what he is. The final confrontation with the fire breathing monster Te Ka and who that really is are good twists in the movie.

 

But where the movie really sparkles is in the animation. The worlds that it brings in front of you is fascinating, the images are brilliant and the dialog, though in my mind not as brilliant, supports the story and moves it along. The scene where baby Moana plays with the sea (water) is brilliant. She also gets a stone with the spiral heart in it from the sea. (We do not know what it is at this point in the movie.)

 

She goes on the inevitable voyage and the obligatory dumb animal (In this picture it is Heihei, a dumb rooster). She meets Maui and he reluctantly goes with her, arguing and wanting to quit all the way. There are also diversions like the cute Kakamora, tiny coconut shell wearing creatures.

 

A good entertainment, and brings to live Pacific Islander’s culture. Just don’t look for deep meaning in the story or any educational aspects.

 

6/ 10

– – Krishna

September 17, 2016

Movie: The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Filed under: HIndi Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 10:29 am

imageRight after seeing Finding Dori, which, as we reviewed earlier was way better than the trailers suggested, I went with a lovely feeling of seeing an even better movie, as the trailers for this movie were hilarious. In a way, it was the opposite of that movie, as the movie does not seem to measure up to the expectations raised by the trailers.

 

The story is simple and for the first few minutes, looks like it really will meet the expectations. The animations, as we have seen in the trailers, is really the state of the art. However, the storyline seems to fall completely flat after the first few minutes, and then you realize, with a sinking feeling, that the storyline is not strong.

It later gets better, when the animals meet other menagerie (of cats for instance) but it never rises to the level of expectations in the pre release hype of the movie. Which is a pity.

The story is simple enough, which is one of the weaknesses. The story revolves around Matt, a cute puppy, found and adopted by Katie. He finds another dog adopted by Katie, and finds that he is jealous and cannot get along with the newbie, Duke, who is huge. Turf fights ensue.

 

Katie hires a dog walker to mind these two and when they are unleased in a (leash free) dog park, Duke tricks Matt into going into an alley where he was to be abandoned, but is confronted by a bunch of feral cats. They get captured in the resulting melee.

All other dogs in the apartment including Gidget, a cute puppy in love with Matt (and whose mannerisms and voice remind you of the unforgettable Warner Bros cartoon great of yesteryears, Elmira) go in search of these two to rescue them and bring them back.

 

Tired dialogs, very cardboard like characters (for an example, look no further than the stiff falcon – supposedly a good hearted but stiff upper lipped character). It just does not come out right in its results. And top of that is that incredibly stupid sausage dance, which seems to serve no purpose and is also not even entertaining.

A couple of characters like Bunny and Snowball are entertaining. But overall not as great as expected.

 

It does provide some Tera entertainment, so let us say a 5/10

 

  • – Krishna

July 17, 2016

Movie: The Jungle Book (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:54 pm

imageAs we said when we reviewed the Rudayard Kipling’s book The Jungle Book, the book reads nothing like the original cartoon version of the movie Jungle Book made by Disney in 1967.  The book is, frankly, a lot more boring than the movie, which was a surprise to me.

 

So when I heard of that Disney was making a 3D animated version of the Jungle Book, I wondered if they decided to do it any closer to the book. After seeing the movie, I am happy to say that they have stayed mostly true to their own cartoon version.

Two other general points follow, and then we will focus on how this movie is.

First, Disney has always made movies based on folklore and children’s stories but they have seldom stayed true to the original. This is even before we take into account the twists introduced in the remade versions like Maleficent.

We all know that the real ending of the Little Mermaid is not as is shown in the movie. As for Hercules, the Disney story is so far from the myth that it does not even seem to refer to the same Hercules of mythology.

Once they decided to make a revisit of all their cartoons into animated movies (A whole series like Jungle Book, Maleficent, Tarzan and now Pete’s Dragon and God only knows what else) they seem to be oscillating  between retelling the story as in the cartoons (This movie is an example) and introducing a twist (a la Maleficent).

So this story follows the cartoon faithfully. True, there are minor deviations (for instance how Sher Khan is disposed of, finally, what happens to Mowgli at the end, the reduced role for Kaa and the sequence where Baloo gets Mowgli to get honey for him)  but generally, you can recognize the 67 version strongly in the story.

They have done a phenomenal job of telling the story in the new visual format. It is well made, the cast does its job beautifully, the characters (especially King Louis) are very impressive, and the animation of every character is so good that I wondered if the boy was real or animated! (According to websites, Neel Sethi has himself performed in the movie and not just voiced over an animated Mowgli).

Neel, amidst giants who have given voice to other characters (Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera  and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa) has done a creditable job of being Mowgli.

The story is good, funny, and even if, in my opinion, not as crazily zany as the earlier cartoon version, it really good and keeps your interest. Chalk another good win for Disney in their quest to migrate cartoons to 3D animated versions and make money multiple ways from the same original idea.

Good movie to watch, good casting, updated ending to suit the times. A definite fun time to be had by all, I think.

8/10

– – Krishna

July 1, 2016

Movie : Finding Dory (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:51 pm

imageThough this is the golden age of sequels for Hollywood, generally sequels of animated movies have to try harder to stay current.  You may disagree with many of my examples, but to me, the second Toy Story and subsequent ones were not as great as the first one. Sure, there are exceptions. Shrek managed to keep the interest in the first two before losing its lustre in the third, and managing to mind its mojo in the fourth.  Ice Age generally keeps going well. Despicable Me just crashed and burned in the spinoff movie Minions.

 

However, Finding Dory manages to be another exception. It undersold itself, in my opinion. The trailers were not very awe inspiring and looked a bit like the rehash of the first movie but they manage to steer clear of most of the characters in the first and create an entirely new world and new plotline to keep the interest going. Sure, Marlin and Dori need to be there in all the movies but the other (the fish school and the turtles, for instance) just have cameo appearances, almost as if to remind you that you are watching a movie from the creators of Finding Nemo. It is interesting that while they have maintained most of the voices they had in Finding Nemo, they have changed the voice actor for Nemo. (I at least did not even notice).

 

The story is a lot of fun. Dory is living with Marlin and Nemo, with her memory loss causing hilarious problems when suddenly she realizes that she has to see her family. When she gets swept away into the ocean and disappears, Marlin and Nemo decide to go find her.

 

Hilarity and suspense mixed in the same way as the original creates the magical world of animation again and you are soon immersed in the new crazy characters. There is the grumpy Septapus (Yeah, an Octapus that has lost one of its tentacles) called Hank, who is only interested in getting at the tag Dory has so that he does NOT have to go back to the ocean but to an aquarium where she was bound, and be fed and looked after without having to do a lick of work).There are the crazy pair of seals (Fluke and Rudder) and an even crazier Seal – was there a name to him? – trying to share the limited space. There is a demented loon (‘Loony Loon’ I guess was the pun) called Becky with red eyes and sticking out ‘hair’ which is very funny.

 

Add to all this Dory’s touching childhood scenes – ‘Did I forget again?’ in a pleading voice to desperate parents and practising to say ‘Hi, I’m Dory. I have a short term remember-y loss’ – and it is clear why Pixar has not lost its touch. Simple scenes that tug at your heartstrings and make you like the little fish who struggles, and by extension, the movie itself.

 

The movie is very unbelievable with a series of improbable events. I know that in an animation movie the entire thing is improbable but I like at least some logic after you have accepted the premise. Here there seems to be none. Just ignore for the moment the scene where the marine animals take over a van and drive it around; even the scene where Nemo and Marlin jump from fountain to fountain to get to their destination makes you shake your head and say ‘really?’

 

Yes, Hank is a nice addition to the group and looks like he will stay on with this family for new sequels and the age worn trick of introducing a gruff,  seemingly uncaring person (Remember Gru of Despicable Me?) and showing him to be a nice person inside works again brilliantly.

 

Even the humour is good. “I have a friend called Sigourney Weaver” says Dory and you have to see the movie to understand why it is hilariously funny.

 

All in all, a worthy successor to the fantastic Finding Nemo movie. Pixar, you have done it again!

 

7 / 10

 

  • – Krishna
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