Thursday, August 25, 2016

Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection

Just watched the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection on Netflix streaming.  Although the twelve little films are a mix of quality, most are really good.  Many seem like experiments in style. 

When watching The Little Match Girl you will need a couple of hankies.  I did.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

The trailer for The Secret Life of Pets makes it look like a funny movie, but it is one of the least funny animated films I have ever seen.  I laughed at the beginning and at the end, but everything in-between is dark.  There are animals trying to kill each other, and an underground sewer full of abandoned pets, scary snakes and crocodiles, a psychopathic bunny who wants to kill humans, and just a touch of scatalogical humor.  I am sure that somebody thought that this would be funny, but tone of the film is all wrong.  It felt weird to me.  I might as well have been watching Lethal Weapon.   This gets my vote for the worst kid's film in recent memory.  Don't take your kids to see this movie.  Instead rent Home, which is a far more enriching experience.

However, adults might enjoy the story about Max and Duke getting lost and trying to find their way home.  It is entertaining, although it might seem familiar to those who have seen buddy and road trip movies.  There is just enough of a story here to make it worth watching, but we have come to expect better from animated movies.

I am torn on how to rate this movie, because I enjoyed it, but I think that it is completely inappropriate for children.

Rating:  * * 1/2

The movie is preceded by the short "Mower Minions", staring those lovable Minions characters.  However, this short seems unoriginal to me in the sense that if you substitute The Three Stooges in place of Minions, you would have exactly the same story.

Monday, August 8, 2016


Home is a 2015 Dreamworks Animation film about highly technologically advanced aliens, called Boov, who invade and take over the Earth.  They aren't particularly bad aliens, and in fact they are kind of benign, but they need a place to hide from the Gorg who destroyed their homeworld.  Since the Boov are technologically advanced, and not particularly menacing, they relocate the entire human race to a very large reservation in Australia.  A girl named Tip manages to evade the forced relocation, and meets a Boov named Oh, who through a series of unfortunate accidents has become a fugitive to his species.

Jim Parsons is magical as the voice of Oh.

From start to finish there is a running joke about how the Boov change color based on their mood.

The movie is intentionally silly, but it has something I like, which is charm.  I found it charming.  And witty.  At times the film is cheesy, but it is also intelligent and thought provoking.  These qualities make for an uneven movie that is not perfect, but I found myself liking the characters and charmed by the whole concept.  

It makes for a pretty good kid's film about understanding outsiders and other people.  I think that most adults will like it if they give it a chance.  Even though it is a kid's film, there are many interesting science fiction concepts in the movie that are surprisingly good.

Unfortunately Dreamworks can't hold a candle to Pixar.  Most of the movies produced by Dreamworks pale in comparison to Pixar, but this has to be one of my favorite Dreamworks films.  After seeing it a second time, I have gained a new appreciation for it. 

Rating:  * * * 1/2

Home has a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  I think that the movie is vastly underappreciated.