Female protagonists in Disney animated films have come a long way. It's been 84 years since Snow White awaited a Prince's kiss to awaken her from a cursed slumber. The tales themselves are a far cry from their "snow white" roots, with modern adventures focused on diversity, people of color and those that have far too long been under-(or mis-)-represented throughout the history of cinema.
The impressive "Raya and the Last Dragon" is Disney Animated Studios' 59th feature film to be released theatrically, and one thing has remained the same since the beginning: Disney has pushed the envelope with its animation techniques and style, and "Raya and the Last Dragon" is the most beautifully, brilliantly rendered animated film dare I say in the studios' history.
And while the story-lines - many borrowed or adapted from existing fairy tales or legends - have admittedly played it safe with the Disney formula over the past century, this latest animated entry feels fresh and inspired, possessing that Disney charm that makes it feel like its destined to be a classic, with ever-relevant themes that speak to the issues of today just as potently.
The classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters are given the live-action film treatment in the new "Tom and Jerry" (in theaters and streaming on HBO Max).
But fans of the overly-violent frenemies will be left shaking their heads at just how uninspired their new "big-screen" adventure is, and how some things are better off left alone.
The audience has come to expect more from Pixar than your average animated movie. And once again, Pixar delivers.
"The Croods: A New Age," I guess, is harmless fun...that is, unless you decide to go see this in theaters with your family during a global pandemic. It's the follow-up to the 2013 film that no one really asked for, but one that had been kicked around in Hollywood for nearly 7 years before landing at our feet just in time for Thanksgiving (rumor has it, "The Croods: A New Age" will debut on streaming platforms in mid-December but as of now this has not been confirmed).
Who could forget the classic "Star Wars Holiday Special" that aired on CBS during the Christmas holiday of 1978? The answer is, even if you were lucky enough to have seen it when it originally aired, you would have tried forgetting about it almost immediately. The special is famously BAD, despite starring the cast from the films, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. It was so terrible that it never aired again, and has never, ever seen an official release, making it all the more of a cult-favorite item when VHS recordings of it would pop up at conventions years later.
Knowing full-well how legendary that special has become, to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of its airing, Disney+ is releasing an all-new "LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special." This new version features the recent Star Wars heroes like Rey, Finn and Poe in their own "Life Day" adventure. as it honors the entire saga new and old, poking fun at the famous special in which it is based all the while.
You don't quite realize how "soft" and watered-down animated films in America have become over the years, until you see a film from overseas. Cartoon Saloon and Mélusine Productions (an Ireland-Luxembourg-France co-production) brings us the original Apple TV+ film, "Wolfwalkers," a film that is definitely family-friendly but that doesn't shy away from more mature themes.
Plus, it's an absolute stunning visual achievement.
The name alone - PIXAR - exudes a certain level of high-quality, creativity and innovation that few other brands have ever achieved. But with high expectations come greater risk of letdown, and while "Onward" sure looks pretty, it feels more like a side-step than a leap forward for the high-powered animation studio.
Not that my opinion will matter in the larger picture, but "Frozen II" feels like re-heated Disney leftovers.
Review: An unpopular opinion of 'The Lion King' re-make and why this movie should be the Pride of Disney
Despite being crushed by critics, the newest version of Disney's "The Lion King" is anything but soulless. Let me explain.
The gang is back for another adventure, but is "Toy Story 4" worthy of its predecessors, or should Pixar put a fork in it?
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