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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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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America: The Motion Picture (2021) – America, F**k Meh?

Released: 4th July
Seen: 5th July

You know, I probably should’ve watched this one on the 4th of July. Would’ve been more appropriate to watch a film supposedly celebrating America to watch on the 4th of July, even if I did release the review days later. Well, little behind the scenes trivia for you, I did try to watch it on the 4th of July but at the halfway mark I fell asleep so I figured I should probably watch it again when I was more awake.

Well, I have now done that and it turns out the problem wasn’t that I was too tired, but that America: The Motion Picture is just kind of boring.

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Arlo the Alligator Boy (2021) – Smile At This Crocodile

Released: 16th April
Seen: 18th June

Arlo the Alligator Boy Info

Back in the 90s and early 2000’s, Disney had this thing that they did where they would make a movie out of the first three episodes of an upcoming series in order to get people used to what was to come. This led to such films as The Return of Jafar, Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face Off and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins among a whole cornucopia of other films. 

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Luca (2021) – Looka At This, It’s Cute (and a little bit gay)

Released: 18th June
Seen: 18th June

Luca Info

With all the films that are going to Disney’s premier service lately I’ve noticed a weird pattern regarding the films that they don’t throw a surcharge on the second it pops up… namely that they’ve been, largely, kind of bad. Sure there’s exceptions like Soul or Onward, but other films like Magic Camp, Stargirl and Artemis Fowl (a film that, no joke, didn’t pop up on their site’s list of original films when I went to look before writing this). Basically if a film skips cinemas and just pops up on Disney Plus I’m going to be going in with some trepidation… and then they just throw something like Luca up there and I wonder if they even know when they have a good thing on their hands.

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Wish Dragon (2021) – A Charming Little Wish

Released: 11th June
Seen: 16th June

Wish Dragon Info

So earlier this year, Disney released the film Raya and the Last Dragon. It was a pretty great film as a lot of Disney’s animated fare tends to be but there was this weird thing going around where people wrote off its box office as a failure because it only made 130 million worldwide on a 100 million budget. For some reason this is a thing that keeps coming up this year where films are having their box offices judged based on pre-pandemic expectations, as though we’re completely through the wilderness. Spoilers, we’re not. Anyway I bring this up because I wonder if the supposed failure of Raya and the Last Dragon led to today’s film Wish Dragon not getting as much attention as it deserves which is a shame because Wish Dragon is charming.

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The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) – The Animated Charmer Of The Year

Released: 30th April
Seen: 2nd May

The Mitchells vs the Machines Info

Sony Animation has had something of an interesting history in regards to their output over 20 films. They’ve run the gamut when it comes to quality, from the objectively awful fare like The Emoji Movie to some of the best animation in history with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Slowly they’ve gone from an animation company people would cringe about to one that actually gets a lot of excitement going with their new releases. So, where does The Mitchells vs the Machines fall in regard to the rest of Sony Animation’s output? It’s borderline perfect.

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WolfWalkers (2020) – Wolftastic!

Released: 11th December 2020
Seen: 5th April 2021

WolfWalkers Info

I’ve made it no secret that I do not like the Apple+ service that much. I find its layout to be subpar and its content to be so sparse that I can’t imagine paying for it at all. Honestly, I only have it because I got a few years for free and even with that I’ve still never been that bothered to use it even when they finally put an app on game consoles meaning I can actually watch their limited content on the TV. 

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Over The Moon (2020) – Out Of This World

Released: 23rd October 2020
Seen: 5th April 2021

Over The Moon Info

When it comes to the Oscar race this year for best animated film, it feels like Soul is the foregone conclusion. It’s kind of hard to beat a film that was so funny and poignant with such impeccable visuals and was such a cultural event. However, the race isn’t quite over yet and I would like to offer a wild card entry that might sneak in at the last minute, that being the Netflix original film Over The Moon.

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