Trolls World Tour (2020) – All Over The World

Released: 17th September
Seen: 13th September (Advance Screening)

Trolls World Tour Info

When we look back on 2020 in film (through the spaces between our fingers like one might watch a particularly gory horror movie) there will be one film that stands out as having changed cinema forever. That film will be Trolls World Tour, one of the first films to make the leap from a cinematic release to a VOD release that created a stand off between AMC theatres and Universal that ended with Universal getting to put their films on VOD a lot sooner than they ever had been able to before and AMC gets to maybe show James Bond movies if we ever put big blockbusters out again. This film hit VOD in April… oh wait, I’m sorry, it hit VOD in the USA back in April but because of reasons, I had to wait until it came out in an Australian cinema in the middle of September in order to see it. Seriously, this kind of gap is dumb at the best of times but during a pandemic? ANYWAY

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Fearless (2020) – I Fear Nothing

Released: 14th August
Seen: 8th September

Fearless Info

In this, the year of impending doom and sadness, a lot of great animated films are either shunted off to the land of digital downloads or postponed until we feel like it’s safe to let a large number of children share an enclosed space again. Of course, this plague makes things like Netflix turn into a go to source for children’s entertainment which means that films like Fearless might seem like a great idea to entertain the small ones who are in desperate need for something to distract them but despite its bright colors and simplistic fart jokes, this film is not good enough to properly entertain your kids.

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Animal Crackers Header Image

Animal Crackers (2020) – Moderately Adequate

Released: 24th July
Seen: 29th July

Animal Crackers Info

In 1930 the Marx Brothers released Animal Crackers, probably one of their best films. It contains several of Groucho’s best lines, the song Hooray for Captain Spaulding is one of the classics from the group and it was based on one of their highly popular stage plays. I bring this up because I was genuinely stunned, one might even say I was perplexed when I saw that there was going to be an animated film based on the Animal Crackers property… and then I watched it, realised that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Marx Brothers and then wrote this paragraph because the movie doesn’t exactly give me a lot to work with for a good opening.

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Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (2020) – Fairy Fail

Released: 2nd July
Seen: 8th July

In 1937, Disney released what many regard as the definitive version of the German fairy tale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It’s certainly the version that most of us think of when we talk about that legendary fable, to the point where the question “What are the names of the seven dwarfs” is answered with “Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey and Bashful” instead of the names used in the original Grimm’s fairy tale. Do you even know what the dwarfs were named in the original Grimm’s fairy tale? Trick question, they didn’t have names and were referred to either as a collective or by “The first one, the second one, etc”. With Disney’s version looming large over the history of the story, every version since then has had to try and do something to make it stand apart from the most well-known iteration of this story. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs decided to be confusingly boring, which is fun.

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The Willoughbys (2020) – Home Alone: Extreme Edition


Released: 
22nd April
Seen: 24th April

So, I know right now we’re all a little frazzled thanks to the mild apocalypse we’ve got going on. The people who are probably most in need of a respite from the insanity are the parents of young kids who are just running about without anything to watch since they’ve probably sat through Trolls: World Tour and Onward about 17 times each. Well, let me offer something that might delight them… and might make them work out ways to murder their parents, but they will be quiet for an hour and a half so you can decide if that trade-off is worthwhile.

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Onward (2020) – Spellbinding

Released: 26th March
Seen: 21st March (Advance Screening Weekend)

Onward might go down as one of the unluckiest movies in recent Disney history since its release just happened to fall when the coronavirus pandemic basically shut down everything, including most theatres. Normally a Pixar film is basically guaranteed to make 100 million in the first week, get its budget covered in the second week and be on the way to one of the highest grossing films of the year. That’s now not happening, thanks to corona. If you want to be in genuine shock at just how suddenly this hit, go look at the box office of Onward. Onward is still technically the top grossing film in America and yet it’s barely cracking a thousand bucks a theatre. I bring this up because it explains why they made a pivot and released this one straight to VOD in the states and why it’ll be on Disney+ soon. So now the question becomes “Is this film worth a slightly higher than normal rental price to stream at home” and honestly? Yeah, because it’s a pretty great film.

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The Big Trip (2020) – Fall Over, Play Dead

Released: 5th March
Seen: 8th March

The Big Trip Info

So there seems to be this weird new trend going on at my local cinema and I don’t like it at all. For some reason over the last year, every few months an animated film is put on a big screen that clearly was meant to go direct to DVD. I’ve now seen so many awful animated films in a cinema that I thought I was numb to them. We’re not talking your generally bad animated films either, nothing that’s just bland or boring. No, we’re talking crap like Arctic Justice, Cats (not that one), Here Comes The Grump and Flying the Nest. Films that look like they were made in a month for the express purpose of being sold in bulk to video retailers to help them have filler on their shelves. These movies are not meant to turn up in actual cinemas, they’re not built to be presented there… but they keep on coming, and today we have the first animated abortion of 2020 and oh my god, I hope this is the worst one of this year because I can’t handle any more of this.

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I Lost My Body (2019) – And No Body Lost Me

Released: 29th November (2019)
Seen: 1st February

Netflix really has been trying hard to push some good high-end properties lately, which is a nice change from what was scarily becoming a pattern that would leave me screaming “Why did you pay money for this?”. Partially they do this because they know that other services are popping up that’ll offer high-end products that they will inevitably need to compete with and the best way to prove that is to own properties that will get them Oscar nominations. They don’t even need to win, they just need the nomination. You can tell their attempt has worked pretty well since this year Netflix has almost a half dozen films nominated for some award. Best Animated Feature contained two of those nominations, the first being for Klaus and the second for this weird little gem that’s… well, it’s different, I’ll give it that much.

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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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