Rescued By Ruby (2022) – Adorable

Released: 17th March
Seen: 4th April

In the almost 5 years that this blog has been around, possibly the biggest target of bile has been films featuring a dog. A Dog’s Purpose was a film that won my inaugural Worst Films list about as handily as one could win such an award, the follow up A Dog’s Journey was bland enough to be a forgettable annoyance, the spin-off A Dog’s Way Home was bad enough to make an honourable mention on the 2019 worst list. Then there was Show Dogs, a Miss Congeniality ripoff that got mildly infamous for having a scene people could compare to child grooming… basically, dogs in movies are one of this blog’s enemies and I worry every time I see one so naturally Rescued by Ruby looked like it was going to piss me off… but it’s undeniably charming enough that I kinda like it so yay for progress.

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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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Home Sweet Home Alone (2021) – Homesick

Released: 12th November
Seen: 12th November

Home Sweet Home Alone Info

In 1990 a little film called Home Alone was released. On a budget of a little under $20 million, the film went on to make about $476 million worldwide and become an instant classic that spawned exactly 1 good sequel and then 3 films that technically exist. Home Alone influenced so many other film makers who all took a shot at the “Kid makes an elaborate set of traps around the house that leads to an endless amount of slapstick” genre, which is why we have atrocities like The War With Grandpa. So many people have tried to recreate the magic of the original film and no one has pulled it off… and adding to that “Can’t pull off the magic of Home Alone” pile is Home Sweet Home Alone, a film that doesn’t even pretend to understand what made the original special and just desperately cashes in on a 30 year old property without any effort whatsoever.

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Cinderella (2021) – More Like Sinderella

Released: 3rd September
Seen: 4th September

The story of Cinderella has been adapted countless times in multiple forms. From the legendary Disney animated classic of 1950 to the millennial favourite 1997 version that starred Whitney Houston and Brandi, to the Disney Live-Action version from 2015, there have been so many attempts made at this simple story that it feels weird to go five years without someone taking a shot at it. 

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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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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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Yes Day Promo Image

Yes Day (2021) – Not On This Day

Released: 12th March
Seen: 6th May

Yes Day Info

Films, in general, are full of tropes. Some hide them better than others but every film has them. The trick is to either hide them well enough behind interesting characters and dialogue that no one cares or to find ways to subvert them or put them together in new and interesting ways. Then there’s the films that don’t even bother to try and hide their tropes and just hope you’re stupid enough to enjoy them. Yes Day is kind of the queen of trope films for 2021 and unfortunately for it, I’m not as stupid as I look.

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The Mitchells vs the Machines Header

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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