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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

 

 

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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

August 28, 2015

Movie: Minions (2015)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:37 pm

imageIt is definitely hard to hate the minions right? No matter what they do, the movie is going to be really huge, correct? Can a minion movie ever go wrong?

The answers to the questions above turn out to be No, Yes, and Yes. This movie unfortunately does not live up to the enormous expectations raised by the first two movies where they feature (The Despicable Me series). Why? Is it because Gru is not there? Is Gru the real power behind those successes alone? Not necessarily. The disappointment is mainly because they did not go anywhere with this movie at all.

The first two movies had a lovely plot running through it, and I just do not mean Gru’s compassion in the first and his love life in the second. Even minions were a big part of the plot that set to tell a wonderful story. The self-deprecation that ran through the plot was very endearing. Even the title ‘Despicable Me’ is adorable. The myriad minions of the “evil lord” were called… well… simply ‘minions’. Beautiful. And then Gru in the first is dragged kicking and screaming to give the kids a place in his heart, against all his “natural” instincts. In the Despicable Me 2, the way the Gremlins turn evil with a purple body and a gremlin like transformation was phenomenal! Even the first scene where an entire camp is taken away with a giant magnet was great, tongue in cheek it may be. It worked as a whole, and made for a good movie.

This movie lacks most of the glue that made the first two movies work. The endearing minions are there, and in fact, the premise is great: How did the minions get to work for Gru? Where did they come from? What did they do before they met and joined Gru?

The execution of the plot leaves a lot to be desired. There is that attempt at self-deprecation, true. The evil lady is called Scarlet Overkill. But it does not really work. The beginnings of minions is a cop out and the humour felt stitched together. I wondered why and then it struck me. The story seems to be a series of gags stitched together with no coherent theme running through the movie. Yes, they make fun of celebrities (including the Queen, her exaggerated accent and her forward teeth?) but it feels phony.

In the 1950s it (I mean the storyline, not the animation, which is top class) would have worked. Come to think of it, it feels like one of the Warner Brother movies which is simply capers of a character (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E Coyote) and each gag forgotten after it is delivered. These days, even these folks have delivered too much in the past movies for me to be satisfied with a cartoon strip like story.

The answers to fundamental questions like ‘How did the Minions come to be?’ and ‘How did they get to wear the trademark jeans?’  are all cop outs. (I don’t want to describe these because, though these are not central to the plot – such as it may be – they may be spoilers. If you see the movie, please let me know if you agree or disagree.

Are there no good parts in the movie? Yes there are. Their search for the Ultimate Evil Lord to become minions to is amusing (I mean the concept and not the disjointed episodes which form part of their search), and for some time they really think they have it in the form of the Overkill lady.

How they find her is also kind of Meh…

It ends with their finally finding the Master Villain – a young Gru of course!

All in all, does not live up to the expectations. A victim of its own (previous) success?

Let us say 4/ 10

– – Krishna

July 18, 2015

Movie: Inside Out (2015)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:33 pm

imageThe reviews are definitely fawning. One typical review says that the reviewer doubted the ability of the Pixar team to do good movies anymore but he (or was it a she?) is glad that ‘they are back’.

I agree with that review up to a point. Pixar seems to have lost the ability to make exceptional movies that shake up the media. The Toy Story was a brand new concept and they followed it up with incredible movies like, well, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Up and Wall-E.

Come to think of it, Ratatouille was also not bad, not bad at all. Somewhere there, they seem to have lost their mojo. There was a time when they made only serials of the (now not so hot) Toy Story or the not so incredible Cars and Planes. I grant you that these movies also appeal to kids, but there was nothing in it for adults. In the meanwhile, others seem to have caught up. Dreamworks came up with the Shrek series and Universal came up with the adorable concept of Despicable Me, where the first two movies were fabulous. The third one? I will give you my views in another post. The only half decent movie Pixar has come up with recently is  Big Hero 6 but I would not classify that as outstanding.

Even Disney, which bought Pixar over, seemed to find its old magic in the amazing Frozen.  Pixar? They seem to continuously miss the mark and this movie, Inside Out is also one of the misses. Sad to see the once revolutionary company get mired in sequels and tired concepts.

Inside Out has an interesting premise for sure. It talks about the mental processes that drive us. To make it interesting, all emotions have been given a persona. Joy (played by Amy Poehler of Parks and Recreation fame) is there, Sadness (Phyllis Smith of the Office fame) are there, as is Fear and Anger. Disgust (Mindy Kaling, also from Office) and others.

It may be very useful as a documentary to explain psychology  but as a commercial movie, it leaves a lot to be desired. Each event is a coloured ball of memory (happy, sad, angry) and some of them are key memories. There are islands of support (though none of the emotions ever go to any island; they are just there at the end of radiating poles from the central place where they “live”. Weird.

It even gets weirder. Every emotion takes its place in the controls, pushing others away – OK, I see what that means in practice. Anger pushes away joy, sadness etc momentarily and takes over. But sometimes everybody sits around and cheers joy or helps her get life back on track. Sadness and disgust helping joy gain control? Good as a children’s concept but does not jell with the basic premise.

It gets even weirder. The childhood imaginary friend is still rooting around, looking like a character from Dr Seuss book which wandered into this story. The Train of Thought is a weird train that goes and stops at will and is hard to catch. Don’t even get me started on the clown and the weird party.

All in all, it sounds like an attempt to educate with random characters doing random things that makes no sense altogether. Just one example : Joy and sadness get lost and need to get back to the control room to save the girl? Well? What does that represent?

I know that there is a link in everything to the mental processes of people and is cutely portrayed, but if it is not obvious to a layman like me, what is the movie trying to tell me?

Not a very bad movie or anything but it does not justify the hype or the expectations set by early Pixar movies.

4 / 10

Krishna

November 15, 2014

Movie : Big Hero 6 (2014)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:31 pm

imagesDisney has certainly gotten much better at storytelling since their days just before taking over Pixar, when they were briefly stumbling. This story is good too. It has all the fun elements, and you see at the end that Disney clearly wants to make this into a franchise that can keep on giving.

The story is endearing and will appeal to mass audience and geeks alike. The corny thing is the name of the city San Fransokyo? Come on! And parts of it, which are supposed to look like Tokyo end up looking like the China Towns in western cities during Chinese New Year time. But we can forgive these lapses because the story is good.

Hiro Hamada is a young boy prodigy whose brother Tadashi is also a genius. Hiro spurns the normal aspirations of success for geeks and is busy participating in robot fights (something like chicken fights, illegal but flourishing in alleyways). He gets nearly lynched when he wins big against a local mafia don but is rescued by his brother, who is in a Technical University. We learn in passing that their parents died in an accident and they live with their aunt Cass (I guess it is the San Frans part of the story).  Tadashi agrees to take Hiro to the next robot fight himself, but has to “stop by his university to pick up something”. This is a trap.

While at the university, Hiro gets to see Tadashi’s work. He hurts himself accidentally, and out comes this inflatable robot nurse called Baymax (sly reference to Betamax?) whose mission it is to heal and help people be happy. He is the one you see in all the posters. Tadashi also reveals that the entire brain of Baymax is in an insertable circuit board that goes into Baymax’s heart area (Nice touch, the choice of the area).

When Hiro sees Tadashi’s colleagues including Gogo Tomago, Honey Lemon, Wasabi and Fred (all nicknames except the last, of course) and the whole lot of cool techno gadgetry they get to play with, he realizes that his robot fighting obsession is no match for the real thing and now he wants to join the university. Mission accomplished, for Tadashi. But in order to achieve his dream, Hiro has to pass an interview, which includes demonstrating his technical prowess in a kind of a show and tell exam in the university.

He does it in flying colours, showing off an impressive nanobot technology called microbots. (Here it gets confusing for a geek. Is it nano or micro? It cannot be both. And the technology is not nanobotics as these pieces are huge from a nano scale. Never mind…. Professor Callaghan is so impressed that he offers Hiro a spot in the college. Also impressed is industrialist Allistair Cray, who offers him millions for selling his technology. Hiro rebuffs him, much to the delight of Professor Callaghan.

He gets accepted in the university (“nerd school”) and after the celebrations, they see a fire break out in the college. Knowing Professor Callaghan is in, Tadashi rushes in to save him but an explosion kills everyone in the lab. Tadashi is dead.

While mourning for his brother, Hiro discovers that Baymax was in Tadashi’s room after all. One microbot is kept by Hiro and it suddently twitches “as it’s instinct is always to join the others”. But Hiro knows every other microbot is destroyed in the explosion so this must be broken. When Baymax suggests that it is trying to go somewhere, he says ‘then why don’t you go and find out where?’ in frustration and is horrified, later, to see that Baymax is obeying his commands! He rushes after Baymax to stop him but stumbles into a factory full of microbots being made. He realizes that the fire was no accident and Cray must have engineered it to get possession of what he could not legally get his hands on. A masked man comes after him and he barely escapes alive. There is a hilarious scene where Hiro tries to lodge a police complaint with a drunk looking (battery down) and partially deflated Baymax.

Baymax sees Hiro’s distress and as he is programmed to do whatever is good for those under his care, decides to communicate with friends to come to the help of Hiro and Tadashi’s colleagues really do. They go in search of the  masked man. How they find who the masked stranger is (a twist like the ones you have now come to expect in all Disney movies) and how he enhances the powers of each one of his colleagues including Baymax and how they take on the supervillain is the rest of the story.

In the end, when Baymax sacrifices himself to save Hiro and another person, you kind of say ‘I knew it’ but it still is a poignant moment. But again, there is another cute twist to that story as well.

Nice, but if you compare this to Pixar’s superhero movie The Incredibles, I think the Pixar version is still better. Even if you compare this crew’s previous effort, Frozen is a lot better.

 

That said, this is entertaining, and fun to watch and is a really good family movie.

Let us say a 7/10

  • – Krishna

 

 

 

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