Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the second of the animated Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movies and much like last years animated installment it lacks the charm of the live action trilogy (once again we don’t talk about The Long Haul). In fact somehow Rodrick Rules ends up being worse than the last one that came out last year, the only positive is Ed Asner this is one of his final performances and he did manage to get a chuckle out of me. But good lord they cut so much out of the book and the live action adaption, I get they wanted to focus on the bond between Greg and Rodrick but the live action movie managed to do that just fine with other very entertaining scenes as well. The animation is very ugly combined with very phoned in voice acting (outside of Ed Asner) the movie completely falls flat almost immediately after starting, Rodrick Rules is actually longer than the first movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid being 58 minutes and Rodrick Rules being 1 hour and 14 minutes. However the longer time does not help the movie, in fact it makes a lot of the flaws much more noticeable particularly the animation that is just very lifeless. There’s no charm here and really fails to capture the entertainment value of the books, overall Rodrick Rules is basically a retread of the live action movie except with a lot of scenes cut and lacking both in charm and entertainment.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is available on Disney+
Mickey: A Story Of a Mouse for the most part is a lot of common knowledge, of course it goes through how the mouse came to be, what Walt Disney himself was thinking while creating Mickey, what his goals were with Disney as an animation studio and we even get the story of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and the whole battle over the character. Something that did surprise me is the documentary goes over Mickey Mouse doing blackface in the old cartoons and other issues as well, it’s a bit surprising due to Disney having the tendency to avoid talking about their past that even some fans of the cartoons want to address. There’s a very strong approach towards the topic that the documentary takes here especially with the interviewers, while the interviewers are fans of Disney they are very open to talking about the very rough history of the cartoons. Plus the documentary really hammers it in that the past should be open for discussion as well as being addressed, a lot of other Disney documentaries tend to avoid the topic of blackface being used in some of the old cartoons so I give credit where credit is due. There’s genuine heart out into the documentary and doesn’t feel manufactured which is again refreshing, there’s charming interviews and some engaging bits that have heart in them. Mickey: A Story Of a Mouse isn’t anything groundbreaking but it is refreshing when it comes to Disney documentaries.
Mickey: The Story of a Mouse is available on Disney+
Disenchanted is the long awaited sequel of 2007’s Enchanted a film that quickly gained a relatively big following including myself. Enchanted was genuinely really fun film filled with a lot of heart, passion, character and had a huge identity to it. It’s been one of those films where people have wanted a sequel for a long time, Disenchanted is the end result and they completely dropped the ball here. What’s sad is there just isn’t a whole lot to say about Disenchanted as it’s a forgettable movie that completely takes out all of the magic that made Enchanted so great. The positives come from Amy Adams who returns as Giselle, she’s clearly putting her heart into it and actually sings a lot of the songs very well, Idina Menzel is actually not bad here either a song she sings towards the end “Love Power” is actually quite great and beautifully sung. James Marsden who just isn’t given enough screen time here is truly charming and actually gives all the moments that made me laugh, you can’t help but smile whenever he’s on screen which is sadly just not enough. Everything else here is about as generic as you can get between a very typical disgruntled child or teen storyline that ends with learning a lesson, which really has the energy of something from the Disney channel in the early 90s it’s truly a huge missed opportunity to look at Morgan’s (played by Gabriella Baldacchino) character and her relationship with her mother Giselle in a way that could connect with the audience. But they just settled with the most generic way possible that is way too forgettable, Disenchanted is a frustrating movie because this is most definitely something you can make into a great movie, but the forgettable script, a lot of the basic original songs and the storytelling is severely lacking and loses the magic of the original.
Hocus Pocus 2 finally releases after several years of the being on those “sequels that should have been a thing by now but haven’t” lists, there’s honestly not a whole lot to comment on here as Hocus Pocus 2 is about the same as the original. Which might be good for people who absolutely adored the first movie, I was never a huge Hocus Pocus fan it’s a fun little movie but that’s all it really was for me. Hocus Pocus 2 falls in the same line, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are still quite fantastic as the Sanderson sisters and are clearly having a blast, the entertaining atmosphere is still quite great and keeps a lot of the atmosphere from the first one, the flaws mostly come from the characters and the jokes really not being as strong, I get they wanted to put in the whole modern setting idea in the movie and at times it works. But other times it really mirrors what a lot of other movies do with this exact plot line, so it definitely leads to a lot of “seen that and it’s been done better before” type of moments. The overall message is charming enough and there’s some cute moments towards the end that did put a smile on my face, there’s definitely some level of charm that went into this movie that can be appreciated. It just falls a little short of being a little too identical to the first movie.
Pinocchio is the newest of the Disney Live Action Remakes and is by far one of the absolute worst ones, it’s truly baffling to me how badly they messed this up. The original Pinocchio is one of Disney’s absolute best films they have ever done, it’s a story that was both dark but also very charming as well. This remake however takes everything the original did perfectly and completely misses on what made it so well done, the only positive I can give here is Cynthia Ervio as The Blue Fairy and her performance of “When You Wish Upon A Star” she did a beautiful job and has a tremendous singing voice that captures the magic of the song. The rest of the movie is missing a key element that the original had a lot of…heart and magic, the original movie despite the dark nature of some of the story was also filled with so much heart in it that made the characters so lovable. In this movie Geppetto (Tom Hanks) and Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) have absolutely no connection between one another, which was a key part of the original movie. So that really defeats the purpose of the story the movie is trying to tell, the CGI is bafflingly cheap some of the movements from the characters are either delayed or just don’t match. Monstro was done horribly with this movie, which again brings this back to Geppetto and Pinocchio. Monstro was an important part of the original Pinocchio serving as bridge to Geppetto’s and Pinocchio’s chemistry, in this movie it is so poorly done and has no passion put into it at all. Which is the main issue here this movie has the biggest “we don’t care” attitude to it, nothing here other than Cynthia Ervio has no energy, heart or passion put into it. Which is exactly the problem with a lot of these remakes (outside of a few) they heavily rely on cheap nostalgia and don’t even do justice to the original movies, what’s unfortunate is this could have been decent, Robert Zemeckis who despite his last couple movies not exactly being that great. Is still a very talented filmmaker who’s given us tons of classics (Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump) I only have to assume that he wasn’t given the creative freedom because this a lifeless movie that is so horribly written is not the thing you think of when you think Robert Zemeckis.
Ms. Marvel is another addition to the MCU and Disney+ Shows and there was a bit of controversy among fans before this came out. Mostly because for whatever reason they made the decision to change Ms. Marvel’s powers which is an important element in the comics that adds to her character, luckily the show does manage to bring some emotional scenes that are surprisingly well done despite the change. However the change does hurt the show during the middle of the season, mainly because they have to gather so many different ideas together and it sort of loses it’s footing. The acting is overall pretty decent but Iman Vellani is the clear standout she completely captures the personality and actions of Kamala Khan it’s truly one of the best casting decisions the MCU has made so far. The parts where there’s quiet scenes involved and the series dives into her character are the highlights and actually give this show some depth. Like Moon Knight I will give this show credit where credit is due that it did not rely on cameos (I mean there’s one but that’s during the end credits at the final episode so that doesn’t count, plus I actually didn’t mind that one since it does have a purpose of being there) to tell a story. Instead they stuck with the characters of the series and told a decent story, if there’s one main flaw it has to be the middle of the season, this is something that a lot of these MCU shows struggle with. They have a very messy middle that really hurts the pacing, it mainly came down to the show throwing way too many ideas in the series with way too much going on at the same time. But the series does get the emotional bits back during the final episode and wraps up decently, it’s a very nice set up for next years The Marvels. Overall Ms. Marvel is a decent show that does have it’s bumps in the road that stops it from being a lot better, but from what was presented there’s entertainment to be had as well as some very strong emotional bits.
Lightyear is Pixar’s newest film which the whole idea of the movie is it is about who the toy Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story films is based on. An idea that sadly doesn’t get fully utilized, but let’s go over the positives first. First off the animation is stunning, it compliments the whole space theme really well and is the very definition of having a sci-fi feel. The voice acting all around was really strong as well, particularly Keke Palmer, Chris Evans, Uzo Aduba and Peter Sohn. Speaking of which Sox the cat is hands down the best animal sidekick in recent memory, usually I’m not a fan of the usual modern Disney sidekick who’s just there for selling toys and making unfunny jokes. But Sox was a genuinely fun character who had a lot of charm and feels a lot more than a dollar sign, the first half of Lightyear felt a lot like what you would expect from Pixar…the first 30 minutes to be exact. There’s some genuinely touching scenes with a lot of emotions mixed in that really paint an interesting story about blaming yourself and trying to do everything you can to fix a situation. The major problem with Lightyear is what follows after that, the movie quickly becomes a very generic sci-fi story filled to the brim with cliches. A huge part of this is what they decided to do with Zurg, which was a very puzzling choice that really did not add much to the movie. There are some decent bits here and there in the second half, but it’s not enough to put this movie back to where it was in the first half. It’s a lot of sci-fi elements that don’t blend together very well. Overall Lightyear is definitely not a bad film (far from it) it just could have taken it’s ideas from the first half of the movie and pushed them even further.
Hollywood Stargirl is sequel to Stargirl (2020), Stargirl (2020) was a decent enough but it did feel like a Disney channel original movie. However Hollywood Stargirl is a huge improvement sure there isn’t anything that drastically changes but it’s the little things that really help this movie. For one thing Grace Vanderhaal’s performance this time around is an improvement, while I definitely think she wasn’t bad in the previous movie she wasn’t given enough to work with due to the script. Luckily here she’s given a lot more breathing room and is able to show a lot more of her talent, Tyler Jackson Williams gives a strong performance plus the rest of the cast do a great job as well (always great seeing Uma Thurman). A lot of the Disney channel original movie feel from the first movie is gone in this movie, sure there’s a few moments that do feel like it but those are very far and few in between. Once again Vanderhaal sings beautiful and truly shows her talent with her powerful singing voice, the story is charming and actually pretty relaxing as well. It’s a sweet little movie that knows what it wants to be, it’s a very likable movie that has a wonderful cast and a lot of strong writing bits that work quite well. Overall Hollywood Stargirl might not have too much meat on it’s bones, but it’s enough to bring interest from the viewer and entertain an audience with some great acting, music and writing.
What can I possibly say here? The Ice Age series should have ended after the third movie, after that the movies started getting worse and worse. Adventures Of Buck Wild feels like an extended TV episode of a Saturday morning cartoon, there’s some good moments in this movie the problem is a majority of them are at the beginning which afterwards the movie takes a complete nosedive. Out of all the characters to give a spin-off film why on earth did they pick the two most annoying and uninteresting characters Eddie and Crash? At least Buck was somewhat interesting and I actually liked him quite a lot in Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, so I didn’t mind him here. It’s just a shame he has to share the movie with Eddie and Crash, this movie is truly the definition of lazy. The only reason why Disney continued the Ice Age series was because of money and that completely shows here, say what you will about the last two sequels at least there were some sort of effort put into them. They just happened to be terrible movies, with this movie it feels like it’s only purpose is to make money. Overall Ice Age: Adventures Of Buck Wild is horrible, it’s a pointless and horribly dull entree into an already tired series that did not need to continue.
The Ice Age: Adventures Of Buck Wild is available on Disney+
The last half of 2021 has really delivered a ton of surprises when it comes to film and Encanto is absolutely no exception. Before going into the film I was prepared for another nothing special about it Disney film that wouldn’t do anything interesting. Encanto is quite different, first off the characters are all actually really well done. The writing for this film feels much more grounded and feels like the writers wanted to give the characters their own personality and dive more into said personalities rather than just list them and that’s it. It really dives deep into family themes such as relationships and how families can be flawed, when you compare Encanto to a lot of other Disney films that have released over the last few years you can tell it’s very different. The world building is also quite incredible, it shows both the light and the dark side of the world and establishes early on how much the world means to the characters. The music is some of the best from a Disney film in quite awhile, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s choice of music is absolutely spot on and matches the tone, energy and style the film is going for. Which leads to the cast who have beautiful singing voices and completely hit it out of the park when it comes to emotions, each song really hits the viewer with a different emotion. As well as each song having it’s own identity with a lot of energy and strength put into them, overall Encanto is truly a charming film that surprised me. It’s one of the best films of the year make sure to watch this one.