How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2018) – We Had Dragons!

Released: 3rd Janurary
Seen: 8th January

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How to Train Your Dragon is one of the best animated films of the decade. I know, starting on a subtle statement is a great way to open one of these things but it’s accurate. Even with so many years between the original How to Train Your Dragon and the sequel we’ll be talking about today it’s impossible to understate how amazing the original film is. Not only is the original film a visual marvel but it has one of the most touching stories put in a kid’s film, a story about a kid trying to get the respect of his father who believes in killing every dragon while the kid wants to be kind to the creatures. It’s a touching tale even without the part that is just the adventures of a young boy and his dragon (a night fury named Toothless). The film was an instant hit that was absolutely beloved by everyone who saw it, and then the sequel came out and was even better. The story got darker, the animation was some of the most glorious to be put on the screens and it didn’t seem like it was possible to top it. Now, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has come out and… OK it’s not better than the second movie, but its close.

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Mary Poppins Returns (2019) – Practically Perfect In Almost Every Way

Released: 1st Janurary
Seen: 3rd January

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In 1964, the world was enchanted when a nanny flew in from high upon her cloud to the door of 17 Cherry Tree Lane and graced us all with her charm and wit. Mary Poppins remains one of the few movies that you can justifiably say “Everyone loves this one”. If you meet someone who doesn’t love Mary Poppins, I suggest running as fast as you can away from them because there is no time to be dealing with such nonsense. Mary Poppins is a movie that the main character herself might describe as “Practically perfect in every way”, which would possibly be the most accurate statement ever made… so, naturally, 54 years later is the perfect time to release a sequel to this beloved classic.

Right?

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Aquaman (2018) – It’s Better, Down Where It’s Wetter

Released: 26th December
Seen: 26th December

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DC has really had something of a bad time with their attempt at a cinematic universe. While the hardcore DC fan base have enjoyed the films so far, with general audiences they’ve been critically panned and have such a horrible reputation that the massive team up movie Justice League is the worst performing film in the franchise. That’s almost impossible to contemplate, the film where every major DC superhero was meant to team up in an event that we have been building too for four movies and it didn’t make as much money as Suicide Squad. The audience is effectively done with what the DC universe is offering now. There were serious talks for a while that the upcoming Flashpoint movie might be used just to try and erase the entire franchise and start again from scratch, it’s not looking good for the DCEU who not only have a failing franchise on their hands that can barely bring them a return on investment, but the franchise is now so far behind the juggernaut MCU that it seems unlikely they’ll ever catch up. For this franchise to still have legs it needs this film to be good. All they had to do was make something that didn’t hurt to watch and they might actually put themselves on the right track… and oh thank god they pulled it off.

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) – Not that Suite

Released: 22nd November
Seen: 17th December

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms Cast & Crew

It’s hard to understate just how popular The Nutcracker ballet actually is. It’s one of the most reproduced ballets you could imagine, representing almost half of what American ballet companies make every year. The score is iconic and has transcended beyond anything that Tchaikovsky could’ve imagined. The show, the music, the story of The Nutcracker is legendary and has lived on for well over a century… which means it’s copyright ran out so Disney can come in, claim it, kill it, pillage the corpse for anything it chooses and leave it as hollow, lifeless and empty as a Tin Soldier.

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Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018) – L̶̗͕͓͈̅͋̑ó̸͙͇͌̐̏a̴̛̮̦̹̻͑̅d̵̡̼͇͐̚͘͝ͅi̴͚̞̦̅̕n̸̮͕͐g̶̛̲̼͐͋̀.̴̨̤̘̞̎̌͒͑.̶̻̜̩͙̈́͘.̸̜̌́

Released: 26 December
Seen: 16th December (Advanced Screening)

Six Years ago, Disney unleashed Wreck-It Ralph onto screens and it was a huge hit. Everyone was floored by how bold it was, a raucous combination of video game characters that we hadn’t seen together before, telling a tale of a video game villain and a video game glitch who we would come to love. It was a monster hit for the company who had only just bought Star Wars that same year. It’s weird to remember that but when the first Wreck-It Ralph came out it was days after Disney bought out Star Wars, cementing their ownership of everyone’s childhoods. In the last year Disney did something similar by buying Fox Entertainment and it raised two big questions

  1. Is anyone going to put a check on this obvious corporate monopoly that’s effectively trying to buy all entertainment as we know it?
  2. …so, when are Storm Troopers going to turn up in a Disney movie and have fights with a Disney princess?

I might not be able to answer the first one, but we now have an answer to the second one.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018) – Crucio

Released: 15th November
Seen:15th November

Official Trailer For Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

For most of my life, I’ve been a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise. I got the first two books from my grandmother for Christmas long ago, just before the third one came out in 1999 (FEEL OLD YET!?) and since then I was that person who had to get the new one on the day it went on sale. I was such a fan that I preordered a copy of the final book and still was in line outside the store before 6am on the day that it went out (Because Australia didn’t do a midnight release) just so that I could get my hands on it. I devoured the last book in 2 days. Every movie I went to see with another one of my grandparent’s, the same one who I mentioned taking to see Christopher Robin a while ago, and we always would go on opening day to see it with a packed theatre and enjoy the absolute glee that came with seeing these books that we loved being brought to life. I was there watching as these major elements of my childhood became reality but when they announced they were doing Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, I wasn’t interested. By the time that movie came out I was in my late 20s and was cynical about so much, I believed it to be nothing but a cheap cash grab created by Warner Brothers because they were desperate to have a steady income since their superhero movies kept turning out to be giant steaming piles of excrement littering the cinematic pavement. Since I knew I would be reviewing the sequel today, last night I decided to finally watch the original Fantastic Beasts movie and I found it to be genuinely delightful. Sure, I was right about it being a cash grab designed to rake in obscene amounts of money from a reputable brand name but at least it tried to be entertaining. It had a charm to it, a warmth that emanated throughout the film that was infectious. It was basically Pokemon but with wizards in it and I was excited to see where they were going to take this story, maybe it was going to be more than just a cheap excuse to slip a hand into my wallet and extract a few bucks.

…so, I’m back to being a cynic again.

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