Aladdin (2019) – Friend Like Meh

Released: 23rd May
Seen:23rd May

When we think of the Disney Renaissance we think of this brief period between 1989 and 1999 when Disney was putting out hit after hit, some of the best films that appear in their catalogue. Right in the front end of that list, dropping in 1992 is the film Aladdin. Based on the Arabic folktale, Aladdin remains one of Disney’s most beloved films. It’s a simple love story, enchanting tunes and, of course, its legendary performance by the late Robin Williams has cemented it into cinema history. Even today the original film holds up with great comedy and award-winning songs that everyone knows. A Whole New World, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali, these are some of the best songs ever put on film. The movie was such a hit it led to two direct-to-video sequels (one of them is actually good) and a TV series that everyone who was a child in the 90s watched. There’s even an adaptation of the show on Broadway but one thing that there will never be is a live-action film remake… at least, that’s what I thought until we inexplicably let Disney think that it would be acceptable to plunder their vaults and turn their classic animated films into subpar live action drivel, but apparently we’re allowing that now so guess what I have to do right now? That’s right, weep and cry because I had to watch this bland lifeless thing that alleges to be a movie.

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Avengers: Endgame (2019) – No Spoiler Zone

Released: 24th April
Seen: 24th April

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On the 25th of April 2018, celebrating a decade as a cinematic universe, Marvel released Avengers: Infinity War. A true box office smash, the film broke records and defied expectations and at the 2-hour 5-minute and 41-second mark, Thanos snapped his fingers and eradicated half of the MCU in a sequence that was instantly one of the most iconic things in modern cinema. It was meme’d into oblivion; it was a moment of cultural shock that is easily the ballsiest thing that a movie studio has done in a long time. They made us love every single character, and then they killed them in front of us in a 3 minute sequence that was designed intentionally to destroy the audience… and then they said “Come back in a year, we’re not done tearing you apart yet” and sure enough, they came back and they were not even close to done tearing us apart.

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Missing Link (2019) – Proof Of Happiness

Released: 11th April
Seen: 13th April

Missing Link

Stop Motion animation is probably the most difficult kind of animation there is. Building scale models and animating them in the physical world, moving just a tiny portion of the models for every single frame and slowly creating movement by hand, something where a small accident could ruin days of work. If a model dries up then that could destroy a film. For the longest time the big name in the field of stop motion animation was Aardman Animation, the people who made Chicken Run (which I just found out is getting a sequel, which is awesome), and now the new people claiming the throne of stop motion animation is Laika who has been fairly consistent in releasing great films, and their latest film is no exception.

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Hellboy (2019) – Aww, Hell!

Released: 11th April
Seen: 11th April

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In 1993 the comic book artist Mike Mignola created the character of Hellboy for Dark Horse comics. A demon-human hybrid, the character became a big enough hit with readers to get an adaptation in 2004 with the movie Hellboy that was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro who managed to turn it into a minor box office hit, pulling in almost 100 million worldwide on a 66 million budget. It got enough critical praise and a cult following to get Universal to shell out for a sequel with the same cast and same creative team, 4 years later letting out Hellboy 2: The Golden Army which fared even better, netting almost 160 million on an 85 million budget and (at least as far as I’m concerned) was just a better movie all around. Now it’s a decade later and rebooting old franchises is all the rage, and Guillermo Del Toro is coming off of two Oscar wins for his beloved film The Shape of Water so now would be the perfect time to get him to come back, drag Ron Perlman with him to don the red latex again and knock everyone out with an amazing Hellboy movie… or you could just get a bunch of completely different people to try and make money off the name alone and hope to god no one actually cares about being entertained, that’s a valid option.

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SHAZAM! (2019) – Hot Damn!

Released: 4th April
Seen: 4th April

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I’ve previously talked on this blog about how nervous I get walking into DC films. After their attempt at an expanded universe netted exactly one good film (Wonder Woman, for the record) and got them a resounding box office failure with their massive team-up film… let’s just say that I get nervous when I walk into these things. Then Aquaman happened and it was above any expectation. I dare say that I should’ve probably given it an even 4 out of 5 now that I look back on it because it was a genuinely fun playful movie that understood that the material was not meant to be dark and so it didn’t bother being pointlessly grim. With the advertisements for Shazam! I was admittedly a little more excited, there was a brighter tone that excited me and made me hopeful that they were going to get this right… oh my god, oh my god you guys!

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Wonder Park (2019) – Wonder Meh

Released: 4th April
Seen: 31st March (Advance Screening)

Wonder Park Info

So, I’m not exactly a theme park enthusiast. I’ve tried to go to them before and never really enjoyed them. Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the weight restrictions that basically tether my feet to the ground that I don’t want to walk on for four hours for three rides, I’ve just never been big on them. However, films about theme park rides? I… don’t care for those either, but only because they’ve never actually been good. With the notable exception of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, a film based on a theme park never seems to work and only seems to irritate the audience that goes to see it. When a film was announced to be about a girl who builds a magical theme park, I was ready to be annoyed and irritated by it. I was prepared for it to be Emoji Movie level trash. I was ready to sit down and write almost 2000 words about why it was an abhorrent piece of cinematic sludge that will poison your children’s minds and render them mute with its awfulness… but that implies that what I saw had something in it that was interesting enough to elicit that reaction from me and the only reaction I really have is “Oh, that exists”.

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Dumbo (2019) – Dumb

Released: 28th March
Seen: 29th March

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In 1941 Disney released its fourth animated theatrical film. Dumbo holds a special place in Disney history. Clocking in at 64 minutes, the film was made to try and cover the losses brought on by Fantasia (Which at the time hadn’t turned a profit because WW2 cut off a large part of the market) and during its production, there was a five-week strike at Disney’s studio. On a budget of under a million dollars with a mandate to keep everything as simple as possible, Disney somehow did the impossible and created one of the most beautiful animated films of all time. The film still works today, with the notable exception of the crow sequence (one of the crows is called Jim… that should probably clue you into the problem), and it’s proof of just what Disney is capable of doing and is so truly beloved that it even earned a spot in the US National Film Registry in the Library of Congress, meaning it will be preserved forever as something culturally significant… and then Tim Burton said “WAIT! I HAVEN’T RUINED ENOUGH CLASSIC MOVIES YET!” and decided to remake it.

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