Fantasy Island (2020) – Not My Fantasy

Released: 13th February
Seen: 16th February

There seem to be two main ways to adapt a TV series to film, as far as I can tell. The first is the straight forward continuation of the TV series into the new format, telling a story that’s just too big for the small screen. This kind of adaptation gave us El Camino, The Simpsons Movie and Charlie’s Angels, films that told stories in a similar vein to the series. Then there’s the riskier gamble, one that takes the series and comments on it by pushing it into a new genre, usually comedy. This lets us witness 21 Jump Street, Baywatch and the eternally baffling CHiPS movies in recent years. When you do this right, you can get gold… when you do it wrong you get Fantasy Island.

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Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) – Gotta Go

Released: 13th February
Seen: 13th February

Remember this? Remember when this image was originally seared into the brains of people around the world? Remember the nightmares? The shakes? Do you remember the fear that at any moment this small blue demon from the depths of hell could emerge from the shadows in the corner of your room and the last thing you’d hear before you were forced to look at your own intestines was a tiny innocent-sounding “Meow”? Well, I remember, I remember it well. I still can’t listen to Gangsta’s Paradise unless I’m wearing brown pants. 

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – (2020) – High Flying Fun

Released: 6th February
Seen: 8th February

The 2016 Suicide Squad movie is the definition of a mixed bag. It’s currently the 4th highest-earning film in the DCEU (or whatever the hell we’re calling the batch of DC films since Man of Steel) making almost $750million worldwide which is pretty impressive… it also has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes right now and is getting a ‘sequel’ next year that will only be bringing back 4 of the actors and has the title THE Suicide Squad which, to me, sounds like they’re masking a reboot under the cover of a sequel. One of the few things that everyone could agree on about the original Suicide Squad movie was that Margot Robbie is an absolutely amazing Harley Quinn and should probably have her own movie. The catch is, Harley Quinn is just a little too insane to be trusted to finish a story on her own and maybe she should have a little bit of backup.

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Klaus (2019) – Happy Belated Holiday

Released: 15th November 2019
Seen: 1st February

Over the last year of this blog, I’ve done my best to see everything, in part so that when the time comes to do Oscar Predictions I’ll be able to say that I saw all the major films nominated. This was my intention from the start since I started reviewing specifically because I had somehow missed all the best picture nominees when La La Land won in 2017 (I turned it off after then, I’m sure they made a great acceptance speech). So now we’re a little over a week away and it turns out I missed a few films so I’m going to do my best to catch up on what I’m able to, starting with the animation nominees who I missed… and I now wish I had seen this one on its release so I could’ve started a Christmas tradition because it feels like the kind of movie that will be watched every single year by many people.

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Spies In Disguise (2020) – Bond-Lite, For The Kiddies!

Released: 1st January
Seen: 28th January

In 2009, Lucas Martell released a short animated film called Pigeon: Impossible. The short was simple, a secret agent sits on a bench about to eat a bagel when a pigeon comes by to take it, there are some mishaps with a computer in a briefcase and a whole lot of slapstick comedy. It’s a pretty fun little short film that clearly caught the attention of some people at BlueSky Animation because that little short film directly inspired this little animated spy comedy and in doing so created a genuinely fun little film that just oozes with charm.

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Dolittle (2020) – The Animals Talk But Have Nothing To Say

Released: 16th January
Seen: 20th January

The Doctor Dolittle character first came to life in 1920 with the release of the book The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. The book, and subsequent series of companion novels, told the story of Doctor John Dolittle who has learned to talk to animals and uses that knowledge to go on several great adventures. This idea was destined to become a movie so it comes as no surprise that in 1967 a musical was created. That musical cost 17 million and ended up making 9 million, it had the production from hell that included racism, Rex Harrison being a dick and ducks forgetting how to swim. Naturally, the property would end up abandoned until 1998 when a new Doctor Dolittle movie was made that starred Eddie Murphy. This new version was a success financially and got average reviews but it’s still fun… but it’s also, notably, one of the last good films Eddie Murphy made until his recent resurgence with Dolemite Is My Name. Basically what I’m saying is that the Doctor Dolittle franchise is a career killer and I now seriously worry about just what’s going to happen to Robert Downey Jr because the man just appeared in the worst version of the Dolittle story that’s been put on film.

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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) – Round Two. FIGHT!

Released: 26th December
Seen: 27th December

Two years ago, the world was surprised when the reboot of Jumanji came out and was actually really good. They had the near-impossible task of making a sequel to a Robin Williams movie just a few short years after he left us. It was the first time any property that Robin had touched would get revisited and somehow not only did they make it work, they even paid homage to the legend himself with some subtle and unsubtle nods. It ended up making almost a billion dollars at the box office and so naturally there was talk of a sequel. A sequel to Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle would have its own problem to deal with. Now that they had proven that they could make a film that honoured the original star… could they do something that didn’t rely on our love of a legend?

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6 Underground (2019) – Bury it!

Released: 13th December
Seen: 24th December

During the promotional tour for this movie, the star Ryan Reynolds was happy to describe the film as “The most Michael Bay movie ever”. This kind of warning had me worried because I have a bit of a history with Michael Bay movies and the promise of the most Michael Bay movie ever sounds more like a threat than anything. See, I still contend that the last Transformers movie is so bad that it should basically bar Michael Bay from making a movie with a budget that’s above 5 million until he learns how to make a movie… and then Netflix in their infinite wisdom promised to release his latest film 6 Underground and my life is now actively worse because of it. Seriously Netflix, I understand that you need to have content that you own outright because everyone else is taking their content away to put on their own streaming platforms but how hard would it be for you to have just the tiniest bit of quality control. Not much, just enough to stop encouraging Michael Bay to keep making movies.

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Playmobil: The Movie (2019) – Everything Is Awful

Released: 12th December
Seen: 23rd December

I don’t think we spend enough time really grappling with how surprisingly good Lego Movie and Lego Movie 2 were. Not only were both of them hilarious and wonderfully animated, but they both also had memorable soundtracks and a well thought out and touching tale about family and bringing them together. Sure they were also giant advertisements for the toy that’s caused more foot pain than ingrown toenails, bunions and athletes’ foot combined but it was a sweet and clever advertisement for that toy. Sure, Lego Ninjago wasn’t that great but Lego Batman made up for it. Movies about the tiny plastic figures going on adventures seems to actually work… when you’re a popular brand like Lego. When you’re Playmobil, also known as “What you buy for your kids when they’ve sold out of Lego”, turns out it doesn’t quite work out as well.

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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019) – Star Bores

Released: 19th December
Seen: 19th December

So, talking about Star Wars online is basically the worst thing one could be required to do. Ever since The Last Jedi came out (a good movie that was good and I enjoyed) there has been a certain contingent of people online who have decided that Rian Johnson killed their puppy when he made that movie and therefore any time Star Wars gets mentioned it soon devolves into the worst kind of toxicity. Since the end of 2017, there hasn’t been a week where some fanboy on twitter has been able to avoid saying something so mind-blowingly irritating that it drained me of a ton of love for this series. Sure, some people had legitimate criticisms that I was able to listen to and talk about but let’s be honest, the loudest and most annoying voices were the ones screaming about the purple-haired woman who behaved like an actual captain and didn’t treat the hero with kid gloves because he can fly well… so, yeah, that portion of the fandom made me walk into this movie feeling demoralised and hoping that maybe, just maybe, this movie might make me feel better.

I have a headache now and I get to be the angry fan who doesn’t like the movie. Joy.

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