Marmaduke (2022) – Animated Dog Vomit

Released: 11th May
Seen: 13th May

Marmaduke Info

In June of 1954, the first Marmaduke comic strip was printed in the newspaper. The entire idea of the series revolved around the Winslow family and their Great Dane who was certainly larger than a normal Great Dane but he wasn’t stupidly big. While the comics were popular, having remained in print now for well over 60 years, they’re noted as being kind of dry and simplistic and like a lot of single-strip Sunday comic books, they’re designed to work for one quick joke and not much longer.

Due to this limitation of how the character was intended to be used, Marmaduke probably wouldn’t work for a 90-minute long film and indeed he didn’t, they tried it back in 2010 and it failed spectacularly. Well, the director of this 2022 animated adaptation of Marmaduke clearly wanted to make a worse film and by god, they succeeded.

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Turning Red (2022) – It’s Pan-tastic

Released: 11th March
Seen: 13th March

turning red info

Writing about a Pixar film feels a little bit like writing about a Marvel film at this point, the odds are good that it’s going to be somewhere around the great range and the compliments that you can throw its way all feel very similar because they’ve managed to hone in on a formula that works so well that it’s hard to pick holes in it. Turning Red is one of those films that really shows Pixar at its best in terms of how it tells these stories and while a lot of it would fit into what a regular high-quality Pixar film normally shows, there are a few elements to this that elevate it into something genuinely special… plus, it has a lot of adorable giant red pandas which means it’s the best movie to come out in a long time because how can you deny the cuteness of giant red pandas? 

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Lava (2021) – It’s De-Lava-Ly

NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on March 17th, 2021

The story of Lava starts like a lot of weird stories begin, with a trip to the tattoo artist. In this case, the tattoo artist is Deborah (Janeane Garofalo) who is trying to live a normal life like any other person of this generation. She goes to work, tattoos people, then comes home to hang out with some friends and watch a pirated copy of the latest episode of Game of Clones (which is apparently just like Game of Thrones but with sentient vegetables, if the Veggetales people could get on making that a reality I would be very happy).

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Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022) – Ehhh

Released: 14th January
Seen: 14th January

Hotel Transylvania Transformania Info

Hotel Transylvania has never exactly been the most memorable franchise. It exists and does its job as a piece of family-friendly entertainment but it’s not a film series that really seems to get much discussion surrounding it, despite them being pretty big hits at the box office. The first three films were fairly huge box office hits and you would have expected that for the 4th entry but nope, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania got thrown on Prime Video to open up 2022. Allegedly this is the final entry in the franchise and to be honest, I can see why since it’s definitely run out of juice at this point.

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Encanto (2021) – Enchanting

Released: 25th November
Seen: 11th December

Encanto Info

Disney animated movies lately feel pointless to review. What’s there to say? “So, the company known for making really good animated films made a really good animated film… again”. Great, there’s the entire review of Encanto in a sentence that’s above my usual cut so now you know the obvious thing that you assumed the second you saw the poster hanging about. Congrats, you beat me to the punchline… still gonna review it anyway because what else am I gonna do with my free time? Hobbies? HA!

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Extinct (2021) – Holey Moley

Released: 16th September
Seen: 20th November

Extinct Info

Sometimes you just look at a poster for a film and you just know that this is going to be a bad time, you just have that undeniable feeling that whatever you’re about to go through for the next hour and a half is going to be excruciating. Upon seeing the poster for Extinct it’s hard to deny that the feeling of “Oh god” was running rampant, and that feeling only got worse upon seeing the trailer. Well, the good news is that Extinct is not as awful as one might’ve expected based on first appearances… but that’s only because it’s so middle of the road that awfulness might be an improvement.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) – It’s Time To Slam Now

Released: 15th July
Seen: 12th August

In 1992 there was a series of Superbowl commercials involving Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, and they were a smash hit. They were so popular that they effectively revived the world’s interest in Bugs Bunny, which at the time was on somewhat of a downhill slide. This led to Warner Brothers having the wild idea to take these commercials and turn them into a movie. That movie was Space Jam and it was a mega hit, raking in 250 million worldwide with a soundtrack that I promise you was everywhere. 

I was there, you couldn’t escape the Space Jam theme song or I Believe I Can Fly (Which… yeah, kinda helped a rapist stay out of prison where he belonged, we were distracted by this song). This album won awards, went 6x platinum, it was everywhere. Space Jam was astronomically huge, albeit critically panned and most people recognise it more as a harmless guilty pleasure than anything else… and now, 25 years later, they made a sequel that no one was asking for – and apparently decided it’d be fun to try and make a film that was actively bad instead of just kinda silly.

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Vivo (2021) – Magical Monkey Business

Released: 6th August
Seen: 8th August

Vivo Info

While Netflix has been kind of hit or miss with a lot of their releases this year, I have to admit that their animation stuff has been knocking it out of the park almost every time. Arlo the Alligator Boy, Wish Dragon and The Mitchells VS The Machines are some of the best animated films of 2021 so far and it’s nice to see Netflix assuring them wide releases. Now the newest release, Vivo, is gunning to be the 4th great Netflix animated film of the year and goddamn it might be the second best of them all (…hey, Mitchells VS The Machines is a hard act to beat, OK?)

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Peter Rabbit 2 (2021) – Fine Furry Family Fun

Released: 25th March
Seen: 7th August

Peter Rabbit 2 Info

In 2018 the film Peter Rabbit came out to a fairly mixed response. Personally I thought it was fine, James Corden hadn’t quite become full cinematic poison just yet (though he had just done The Emoji Movie, so he was getting there) and the film itself had enough silliness and charm to be fine for the little kids. It was cute but I was fine with it sticking to just a single film, a feeling I grew more sure of the more my general disdain for the lead actor grew (the man did Cats, Superintelligence AND The Prom within a year, a trilogy of performances that should end careers). Now having finally seen the sequel… It’s a bit of an improvement on the original, but I can also be done with this series at any point now.

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Tom & Jerry (2021) – Slap-Stuck

Released: 1st April
Seen: 8th July

Tom & Jerry Info

Ever since Who Framed Roger Rabbit, there have been a lot of attempts at putting animated characters into the real world. No film has ever really come close to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in terms of making that combination work, but where a lot of them falter has been the story. You notice how a lot of these films really lean on the main characters travelling cross country in a car with whatever B-list actor they could hire that month. Recently there’ve been more bad attempts at this with Sonic the Hedgehog being bad (sorry, it was) and some pretty good attempts like Detective Pikachu. So, on the spectrum between Sonic and Pikachu, where does Tom & Jerry fall? Right smack in the middle, perfect mediocrity.

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