The Little Mermaid (2023) – Part Of Our World

Released: 25th May
Seen: 25th May

When people talk about the Disney Renaissance, they are talking about a very specific period of time from 1989 to 1999 when Disney released hit after hit with stunning regularity. Ten films over a ten-year period that would revive the Disney brand in a way that basically set the stage for its eventual dominance over the industry today. It could be argued that without the Disney Renaissance, we wouldn’t have the MCU that dominates the landscape today.

Even the worst film in the Disney Renaissance is better than most other films from the same time period, it’s truly a remarkable time in cinema history and it all started with a simple film about a mermaid who wanted to be where the people were… and because Disney has decided exploiting it’s back catalog is a substitute for good film making, we now have a remake of The Little Mermaid, the film that started this Renaissance. In somewhat of a miracle, it’s not actually that bad.

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Dog Gone (2023) – Doggone It!

Released: 23rd March
Seen: 28th March

Dog Gone Info

It’s slowly starting to feel like the mortal enemy of this reviewer is dog-based films. No idea why, dogs are better than people and are truly precious on every level so surely just telling a story about a cute doggie doing cute doggie things should be enough to make for a nice movie but it seems like it’s just not to be. Films that use dead dogs as a plot point, boring but overall fine stories about police dogs and even films about dog shows that end up being pulled from cinemas to remove a joke that people compared to child grooming have all come out in the time that this blog has existed and every time the film is either irritating or bland or irritatingly bland. So, where does Dog Gone fit in? Honestly, it’s harmless… harmlessly bland.

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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022) – Absolutely Magical

Released: 9th December
Seen: 10th December

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio

It would be fair to say that adaptations of Pinocchio haven’t exactly been spectacular lately. This year alone we had possibly one of the more disappointing entries in the history of Pinocchio adaptations when Disney decided to do another remake of one of their classics and one that had Pauly Shore playing the titular puppet (never reviewed it but it did get memed into oblivion). There was also the strange nightmare one that was released a few years ago that inexplicably was an Oscar contender. 

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Spirited (2022) – Good Afternoon!

Released: 18th November
Seen: 23rd November

Spirited Info

Of all the stories ever written, it’s a fair bet to say one of the most adapted is Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Its simple story of some asshole being visited by three ghosts in order to learn to be a better person is so malleable that it can be shoved into almost any intellectual property (like Blackadder, Mickey Mouse or Mr. Magoo) or be told in various ways, from the straight forward versions to more meta interpretations like The Man Who Invented Christmas… of course, every version pales in comparison to the one that they did featuring the Muppets back in 1992 but hey, they keep churning them out because it’s pretty hard to screw up A Christmas Carol.

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Hocus Pocus 2 Promo Image

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) – Wonderful Witchcraft

Released: 30th September
Seen: 30th September

In 1993 the film Hocus Pocus was released to an audience that really didn’t want anything to do with it. At the time it was critically thrashed and the box office wasn’t exactly glowing which is a little understandable when you consider it was released on the same day as the juggernaut that was Free Willy and not too long after Jurassic Park, so audiences were somewhat distracted. Of course, as time went on, thanks to regular screenings around Halloween and the home video market, Hocus Pocus eventually found its audience and became a massive cult hit and has been subsequently reevaluated by many as a pretty damn good family movie with more than enough charm to delight most audiences, along with possibly the best cover version of I Put A Spell On You to ever be recorded. 

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13: The Musical (2022) – Child’s Play

Released: 12th August
Seen: 24th August

In September 2008, the Broadway production of 13: The Musical began its run, a run that would last until January of 2009 after 22 previews and 105 performances. It was a truly unique show as the entire cast and band were made up of teenagers, something that as far as we know has never been done on Broadway before or since. It’s also a bit of a milestone as this was the show that featured the professional debut of eventual pop icon Ariana Grande. In its own way, 13: The Musical is kind of special, an original teen-oriented musical that can be performed with a cast made up entirely of 13-year-olds that isn’t just a junior version of a different show. Naturally, a show with this kind of significance would be a prime target for adaptation… with the thing that made it kind of special being removed.

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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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